on the left bank of the Malaprabha river,
Pattadakal a World Heritage Centre has 10 major
temples representing early Chalukyan architecture.
The biggest temple here is dedicated to Virupaksha.
Enclosed in a large quadrangle surrounded by small
cells, it has a massive gateway and several
inscriptions. Besides scenes from the Ramayana and the
Mahabharata, there is a wonderful carving designed to
look like an elephant from one side and a buffalo from
the other. In front of the temple is a majestic 2.6k
metres high Nandi. In contrast to the pink - tinged
sandstone temples, the Nandi is made of deep green
stone and is covered in a red floral cape. The
Virupaksha temples is still used for worship.
Stop now at the Mallikarjuna and Papanatha
temples delicately chiseled, rich in detail. The inner
hall of the Papanatha temple is guarded by Nandi and
Virabhadra. There are 16 pillars in the main hall with
The Jain Temple here is from the Rashtrakuta
Besides these temples is a group of temples remarkable
primarily, for representing two chief styles of Indian
architecture, side by side. The detailed
descriptions in the sculptures of the temples give an
insight into the social life of those days.
Aihole was the first capital of the early
Chalukyas. Aihole is to the west of
Badami, along the Malaprabha river,
while Pattadakal is to the east.
Pulakesi I, one of the greatest
rulers of this dynasty, moved the capital to Badami
nearby. Badami was then known as Vatapi.
The first phase of temple building in Aihole dates
back to the 6th century CE, the
second phase to the 12th century.
Ravanaphadi temple is a rock cut
temple, with a rectangular shrine, with two mandapams
in front of it and a rock cut Shivalingam. This temple
dates back to the second half of the 7th century.
The prominent temple groups here are the
Kontigudi group and the Galaganatha
A group of three temples is referred to as the
Kontigudi group of temples. One of these is
the Lad Khan temple, named after a
mendicant that lived in this temple in the 19th
century , another the Huchiappayyagudi
temple and the Huchiappayya math.
The Lad Khan temple consists of a
shrine with two mandapams in front of it. The shrine
bears a Shiva lingam. The
mukha mandapa in front of the sanctum has a
set of 12 carved pillars. The sabhamandapa
in front of the mukha mandapam has
pillars arranged in such a manner as to form two
concentric squares. There are also stone grids on the
wall carrying floral designs.
The Huchappayyagudi temple has a
curvilinear tower (shikhara) over the sanctum (unlike
the Lad Khan temple). The interior of the temple has
The Galaganatha group is one of
nearly 30 temples on the bank of the river Malaprabha.
The main shrine of the Galaganatha temple enshrining
Shiva - Galaganatha has a curvilinear
shikhara, and has images of
Ganga and Yamuna at the
entrance to ths shrine.
The Huchimalligudi temple at
Aihole, built in the 8th century shows an
evolution in the temple plan, as it shows an
ardhamandapam or an ante-chamber annexed to the main
The best known of the Aihole temples
is the photogenic Durga or the
fortress temple. It is apsidal in plan, along the
lines of a Buddhist chaitya, a high moulded adisthana
and a tower - curvilinear shikhara. A
pillared corridor runs around the temple, enveloping
the shrine, the mukhamandapa and the
sabhamandapa. All through the temple,
there are beautiful carvings.
The Meguti Jain temple stands on a
hillock. The temple sits on a raised platform, and a
flight of steps leads one to the mukhamandapa. The
pillared mukhamandapa is a large one. A flight of
stairs leads to another shrine on the roof, directly
above the main shrine. From the roof, one can have a
panoramic view of the plain with a hundred temples or
From a historic standpoint, the Meguti temple has an
inscription on its foundation stating that it was
built in the year 634 CE. This inscription also
contains a reference to the poet Kalidasa.