How Evolution of Temple Architecture Took Place
One of the popular cities of Chalukya Dynasty, Aihole enjoyed its golden period from the 5th to the 8th centuries. Located in the Bagalkot District in Karnataka, Aihole accommodates some of the earliest Hindu temples with impressive architecture.
It is firmly believed that the place acted as experimentation ground for the Chalukya rulers and the temple architects appointed by them.The popular temple architectural styles like Dravidian and Nagara evolved through these experiments and later spread to the whole of the South India in the form of remarkable temple designs.
Interestingly, the recent excavations have discovered a stone temple dating back to the pre-Chalukyan times. However, the temples built with full-fledged Chalukyan architectural style are the highlights of Aihole. More than 120 temples divided into 22 groups constitute a huge temple complex, visited by huge numbers of tourists regularly.
Some of the most prominent artistic experiments done on the Aihole temples include sloping roofs to construct a pavilion style; curvilinear shikharas; pyramidal roofs; carved ceilings and so on. The place also has some of the earliest rock-cut shrines. The temples are scattered over many villages and many of them find beautiful locations amidst the lush green fields.
Lad Khan Temple, which is believed to be the oldest among all, is admirable for its carved pillars, floral patterns and lattice designs.The most noteworthy of all is Durga Temple that represents the shape of a horse shoe. The carvings done all over the walls, pillars and ceilings are truly fascinating.
There are sculptures of various deities including Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and their various forms.Another popular temple is Meguti Temple, which is one of the Jain Temples built later in the city. Located on a small hillock, the temple presents an amazing view of other temples.
Many temples have interesting inscriptions and poetry done in languages like Sanskrit and old Kannada. Other temple with unique features is Ravana Phadi cave temple, featuring the rock-cut shrine.Galaganatha group of temples located near to Malaprabha River and many such architectural marvels flaunted by the city enforce the tourists to spend a lot of time in exploring them.