Thursday, 23 June 2016

Aihole temples, Karnataka

Aihole is situated on the banks of river Malaprabha in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It is an old small village amid vast agriculture fields. It is 33 km from Badami, nearly 500 km from Bangalore & 140 km from Hampi. Nearby roads are not in good condition.

This sleepy little place has seen better days during Badami Chalukyas times who ruled from the year 540 to 753 AD. It was in fact a capital & a trading center in their initial days before Pulkesi II shifted the capital to Badami 33 km away.

A local mythological legend says that Saint Parshurama avenged his father's death by killing the giant Ilavala brother of demon Vatapi here hence the name Ilavalapura. There are about 125 small & large temples scattered all over the fields & are in crumbling conditions. The place has rock-cut temples in early variety of Vedic, Jain & Budhist architectural styles. These temples have been divided by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 22 groups based on architectural styles & age.

ASI has lot of work to do here & has done also. Entry fee for Indians is Rs. 10/- & for the foreigners Rs.250/-. This 'discrimination' to me is unwarranted. In such far flung places only backpackers turn up & not all of them are millionaires. This is likely to discourage visitors. Another thing that irks is poor maintenance of monuments & their surroundings. There is a need to bring local population & administration on board & make them understand the importance of heritage.
Some photos.

This narrow road amid the agriculture land takes you to Aihole.

One of the 125 ancient temples

Another one

Main attraction in Aihole is Durga Temple also called Durg Temple as it was primarily meant for the people in Durg or Fort.

Magnificent carvings on pillars & walls

Water management - steps lead to the well

Crumbling stone pillars

Temples in Jain Basadis 

Protected monument says the blue board on left. In use for meetings, parking & cattle yard.

Temples of Huchchapayya Math

Temple in the village getting ready for festival season

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