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Travel to the Chalukyan Town of Aihole

By Manoj Menon

The town of Aihole in Karnataka has numerous temples that are said to have been built by the Chalukyan kings. These temples are regarded as a symbols of Chalukyan archtectural heritage and also the richness of the land during that period. There are over 125 temples here and these are today a major tourist destination. Travellers coming here can explore these temples and marvel at the architectural skills of the crafts men who built them. It is also a hub for historians who come here to learn more about the history of the place. Here is a guide to some of the prominent temples in Aihole.

Huchimalli Gudi

The Huchimalli Gudi is a group of temples that are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. Established during the 7th century, it is believed to be one of the ancient temples that exists here. The frame present on the exterior walls of sanctum has a rekhanagara tower and is also the first temple to have a shukanasa or vestibule. Travellers coming here can marvel at the beautiful architecture of this temple.

Huchimalli Gudi
 

View of the Huchimalli Gudi Temple.
Photo Courtesy: Alende devasia

Huchappayya Matha

The Huchappayya Matha is devoted to Lord Shiva and is located on the western side of Aihole Village. It was constructed in 8th century AD and has a sanctum and Chalukya-style curvilinear shikhara. The ceiling of the temple has 'trimurti' figures, Natraja image and 12th century inscriptions. There are detailed and beautiful carvings inside the temple along with numerous large square-shaped pillars that have beautiful engraved figures. Travellers coming here should make it a point to visit this temple. You can offer your respect to the lord and also admire the beautiful carvings that this temple boasts of.

Huchappayya Matha
 

Admire the architecture of the temple.
Photo Courtesy: Mukul Banerjee

Ambigera Gudi

The Ambigera Gudi is the group of three temples that are believed to have been constructed in 10th century. These temples are located within close proximity to each other. There are several smaller shrines surrounding these temples and tourists coming here can explore them as well. These temples gives a detailed insight into the rich culture of the Chalukyan Kings.

Ambigera Gudi
 

View of the temple.
Photo Courtesy: Arian Zwegers

Jain Meguti Temple

The Jain Meguti Temple is situated on a hilltop on a raised platform. As per the inscriptions on the temple, this shrine was constructed in 634 AD by Ravikeerthi, a commander and minister of Pulakesin II. Though this temple remains unfinished, the carvings are more refined than those of other temples of that period. A huge idol of Lord Mahavira in sitting posture and partially disfigured yet elegant figure of Goddess Ambika are enshrined inside the temple. Currently, this temple is in a devastated state. It is suggested that tourists should come to this temple in order to enjoy the beautiful view of more than 100 shrines. Travellers can explore this ancient temple and also climb to its roof from where they get a panoramic view of the region.

Jain Meguti Temple
 

The remains of the Jain Meguti Temple.
Photo Courtesy: Alende devasia

Ravana Phadi

Ravana Phadi is one of the oldest cave temples in Aihole and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple consists of two mantapas and a Shivalinga in the inner room. Lined by carved pillars, this sanctum has a hall with three entrances. On the walls and at the sides of the shrine, tourists can see different postures of dancing Shiva. This temple primarily depicts the deity in ornately crafted Nataraja dancing posture.

Ravana Phadi
 

Picturesque view of the Ravana Phadi cave.
Photo Courtesy: Alende devasia

How to Reach Aihole

By Air: Belgaum Airport is the nearest domestic airport to Aihole, situated at a distance of about 162 km. It is well-connected with all the major cities of India.

By Train: Bagalkot railway station is the nearest railway station to Aihole located at a distance of about 34 km. This railway station is well-connected to major cities in India and the nearby areas.

By Road: There are numerous buses plying to Aihole from places, such as Badami, Pattadakal and Bangalore. Air conditioned as well as non air conditioned buses are available from these places.

Travel to the Chalukyan Town of Aihole
 

So when are you travelling to Aihole?
Photo Courtesy: Jean-Pierre Dalbera

Read more about: aihole karnataka temples

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