Aihole ( Kannada: ಐಹೊಳೆ Aihole [ aihoɭe ] ) is a large village with about 2500 inhabitants and over 100 Hindu and some Jain temples in the Indian state of Karnataka.


Aihole is situated in the district of Bagalkot in north Karnataka at an altitude of about 600 m above sea level. inst and about 45 km north-east of Badami; it can be reached from there good with buses. The town is near the river Malaprabha River, a tributary of the Krishna.


In the early 6th century, Aihole was (the original name was Ayyavole or Ayyapura ) capital of the Chalukya Empire. However, its rulers Pulakesi I (reigned 543-566 ) and Kirtivarman I (r. 566-583 or 597) shifted the capital mid-6th century by Badami. Aihole was yet another hundred years an important economic and religious center before the power of the Chalukyas in the second half of the 7th century its preliminary drawing to a close. The religious significance of the place has remained the same and so were even then - especially among the younger Chalukya dynasty - yet another temple built in the 11th and 12th centuries.


In Aihole and in its vicinity have about 100 - mostly undated - received temples, which are divided into 22 groups and are classified by researchers time in the 5th to the 12th century - in the following only the main temple are called. Characteristic of the early architecture of the Chalukyas in Aihole (eg in comparison to the older Gupta temples ) is:

  • The absence of increased handling platforms ( jagatis ); Instead, high base zones
  • Consisting of large pillars with existing interposed therebetween large stone slabs construction
  • By many pillars made ​​possible significant length and sometimes width extension of buildings
  • The virtual absence of roof structures; the shikhara towers of the early temple may have been added later

Lad Khan Temple

The Lad Khan Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is taken from about the time around 700; the porch was possibly grown a little later. To guard against floods ( monsoon ) and before free-running animals of the temple is built on an approximately 1.20 m high base ( adhishthana ), which is completely covered by the building, and thus could not serve as dealing platform. In contrast, the surrounding ground surface was probably covered in earlier times with stone slabs so that a ritual circumambulation ( pradakshina ) of the temple here was possible.

The temple itself consists of a - somewhat smaller - porch ( mandapa ) and a hall-like Sanktumsbereich with lying to the west cella with a Shiva lingam. The center of the room is occupied by a - later established here - Nandi bull, the pack animal ( vahana ) of Lord Shiva. The Sanktumsbereich is only slightly illuminated by several Jali windows with geometric motifs.

About the middle of the temple rises in the exterior a chamber-like structure, which was only accessible by ladder and hid possibly valuable religious objects or the temple treasure (coins, gems or deeds ). The entire - two-stage ( including the slightly lower porch even three-stage ) - roof area consists of thick stone slabs whose joints - made ​​with partly sloping, long and narrow stone beams are covered - in the style of wooden rafters.

The relief decoration of the pillars in the interior of the portico is simple designed, but thematically quite dense: it can be found musicians, dancers, and even a head- standing acrobat is seen., A popular fertility and luck characters in India - Close to the popular motif of the Gaya - Lakshmi, which is doused by two elephants out of pitchers with water appears in addition, there are various jug or vase motifs, from which foliage swells ( kalashas ). The show figural reliefs on the outwardly facing surfaces pillars, Heavenly Love Couples ' ( mithunas ) and various Götterbildnisse; the chamber-like roof structure are shown Vishnu, Surya and other deities. The outer figures jalis and the smaller vestibule whose balustrades are decorated with reliefs pitcher, seems to come at a later stage. Otherwise, interior and exterior walls are divided only by narrow pilaster - like projections and essentially untreated stone. On both sides of the stairway three existing Lingam stones were erected.

The unusual in India, hall-like pier construction of the Lad Khan temple is often referred to as architectural memory of - viewed assembly or royal halls - built of wood and thus not preserved.

Durga Temple

An equally unusual - is reminiscent of Buddhist Chaitya Halls - floor plan shows only about 100 meters away so-called Durga Temple, which was originally dedicated to Vishnu may; the nearby fortress ( durga ) led to the present name. The Cella ( garbhagriha ) is designed apsidial and has two - staggered in height and also apsidal - whorls, one of which is ( alternately with and without fighter) opened to the outside exterior by massive pillars.

Also the Durga temple stands on a multi- stepped base ( adhishthana ) and also the surrounding temple ground surface is covered with stone slabs. Two stairs lead up to a platform-like stem, from which opens up an open portico of another staircase. With another - almost closed - pillared hall with a slightly raised central nave leads to the cella, which is a separate building inside the temple. The temple interior is illuminated dimly by some rare Jali windows in wheel shape and others with swastika decor.

The slightly curved shikhara -like structure above the cella with its shades and window niches ( chandrasalas or kudus ) seems more like North Indian and actually let both the small-scale decor as well as the more square floor plan with projections suggest that it is a later addition; whether the upper part was never completed and was eventually destroyed later by lightning, is controversial. Otherwise, the roof of the temple is made of thick, slightly slanting stone slabs.

Surrounds on the inner wall of the outer handling ( pradakshinapatha ), the entrance hall ( mandapa ) and Sanktumsbereich, more impressive and almost free plastically carved relief figures are attached ( Shiva, Narasimha, Varaha, Durga as Büffeltöterin and others). Otherwise, the architectural decoration of the Durga temple limited to essentially - outward - figurative reliefs ( ' Heavenly Love Couples ', etc. ) on the pillars of the portico and external dealings.

Due to the open construction of the temple, the almost free plastic figures and the Jali window, stone or Wandsichtigkeit is greatly reduced. Most scholars date the Durga Temple, therefore, either to the late seventh or the early 8th century.

Hucchimalli Temple

The Hucchimalli temple is dated to the 7th century and may well have been the model for the probably somewhat later Durga temple; However, he is only three aisles and without apse. A probably added subsequently Shikhara tower in the north Indian style with a large pre- hidden window niche ( chandrasala or kudu ) crowns the cella with a Shiva lingam. Worth seeing is the temple because of its preserved figure jewelery to the multiple downgraded Portalgewänden: Ganga and Yamuna, and love couples ( mithunas ), in the middle of the room decorated with simple vegetable reliefs support beam ( lintel ) a winged Garuda figure in the knee flight, about images of the gods Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The wall niches in the entrance hall ( mandapa ) show the Vedic gods Indra, Yama and Kubera.

Front of the main temple and a smaller lateral accompanying each shrine is a Nandi Bull, the pack animal ( vahana ) of Lord Shiva. About 50 meters in front of the temple there is an approximately 6 m below the water tank to collect rainwater - from this water was taken for cult purposes; Drinking water is brought from the nearby river.

Ravana Phadi Cave Temple

The Shiva consecrated Ravana Phadi cave temple is located near the Hucchimalli Temple and is framed by two free-standing simple small temples; from the solid rock are worked out other smaller shrines with Lingam.

The cave temple is - as well as the Shiva Lingam in the cella and the figure reliefs in the antechamber ( mandapa ) - completely cut out of the rock. Be found on the walls of the vestibule large - almost freiplatisch crafted - relief figures: left of the entrance Shiva and Parvati as a person ( Ardhanarishvara ), then Shiva as zehnarmiger god of dance ( nataraja ) with his consort Parvati, and his sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya to his side; right of the entrance Shiva with a halo behind his head, and accompanied by Parvati ( also with a halo ) and a skeletal emaciated, standing on one leg ascetics ( Bhringi ). At the feet of the figures Ganas, the dwarf companion flock of God romp. Another relief shows the group of the ' seven mothers ' ( saptamatrikas ). The ceiling of the porch is a beautiful rosette - framed by two large squares. In the alcoves immediately before the Shiva lingam is seen to the left is a representation of the god Vishnu in his boar incarnation ( varaha ); the right side shows an illustration of Durga as Töterin the buffalo demon ( mahisasurmardini ) - both topics are very popular in India.

Meguti Temple

The so-called Meguti Temple is a Jain place of worship and is - how many Jain Temple - a little off in the area of ​​- increased lying - former cont. With a long inscription in the outer wall, it can be dated to the year 634 - thus it might be the oldest temple in Aihole. This temple also is elongated with an open portico, porch and a little wider Sanktumsbereich. In the outer walls to find niches (a rarity in the early temples of Aihole ) - but they are very simple and contain no figural jewelry. The roof, with its thick stone slabs and joint covers is of similar design as the Lad Khan Temple, and also here there is a chamber-like square roof structure from a later period, as it suggests the applied masonry technique.

The largely unadorned interior of the temple houses a - possibly later here -spent - cult statue of a Jain Tirthankara in the lotus position. Because of the lack of architectural decoration take many researchers that the temple - was not completed - for whatever reason.

A two-storey building - often referred to as a buddhist, but this due to its late construction period ( approximately 8th century ) is rather unlikely - is to the left of the stairway. From here and from the fort offers a magnificent panorama of the temples of Aihole. On the hill there are the remains of about 20 - four large stone slabs composite - dolmenähnlichen buildings ( see Related links ) where it has, however, dealt with high probability not to prehistoric tombs, but small hermit temple.

More Temple

Be found between these temples and around more - less significant and in some cases also ruined - temples, which still bear witness to the enormous building activity of the Chalukyas in their first Capital: Rachigudi (11th century); Kontigudi ( 7th-10th c.) Charanthimatha - Jain Temple ( 11-12 c.) Hucchapayyagudi (8th century ) and Others Also on the river are more than 40 temples ( Galaganatha group - more than 30 largely ruinous Temple of the 8th / 9th century, . Yeniar group - eight temples from the 12th century; Triyambakeshvara group - two temples from the 12th century, and others).


Near the Durga Temple is a list held by the Archaeological Survey of India Museum ( " Museum & Art Gallery ') with a number of sculptures that could be assigned to any of the temples or were brought here for safety reasons.


As only a few places in India is considered as one of the Aihole cradle sites of Hindu architecture - this is where local and regional developments with North Indian and South Indian mix influences.


The total of about 100 years later temple site of Pattadakal is located about halfway between Badami and Aihole and is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The remarkable temple of Mahakuta are easily accessible from Badami from.