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THE GOLDEN CHARIOT - Destination

 Aihole, Pottadakal Travel Guide

   Temple,  Pattadakal Travel GuideSituated 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 beautiful carvings.
The Jain Temple here is from the Rashtrakuta Period.
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.
 The 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 group.
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 beautiful carvings.
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 shrine.
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 so.
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.
 

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