Durga Temple is a medieval Hindu temple located in Aihole, Karnataka state, India. It is part of a pending UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition to the fine carvings, it is famous as a rare apsidal or ascending Hindu temple, representing a final stage in the transition of the ancient chaitya hall tradition to later Hindu temple architecture
Mythological Reference As per legends, Saint Parusharama after fulfilling his vow of avenging his father’s murder come down to the Malaprabha River to wash his blood-stained hands and the axe turning the river water red due to the blood on the axe. A local lady saw the red water and shouted Ayyo, Hole! (Oh No, Blood!) and hence the name Aihole.
History and Excavations
The ancient city of Aihole was originally called Arya-Hole, Aryapura or Arya-vole (City of Aryans). Established on the ruins of the Gupta Empire in 450 A.D. by the Badami-Chalukyas, it was the first capital city of the Early Chalukyas, which later moved to the nearby town of Badami.
With over 125 temples, Aihole is popularly referred as the ‘Cradle of Hindu Rock Architecture’. The temples in Aihole represent the beginning of all the main features of Hindu temple architecture- sikharas (a four-sided superstructure or tower formed using many decorative layers of stonework), the nasikaor sukanas(projecting facade medallions), a gavaksa(double-curved arch), and an amalaka (a large ribbed circular stone on top of the sikhara). This temple architectural style is most popular in the southern and north- eastern parts of India. The temple building in Aihole took place in two phases- first phase dating back to the 5-6th century and the second in the 12th century.
While most temples in Aihole are Hindu, there are also early Buddhist and Jain caves and monuments. Apart from this, many prehistoric sites have been excavated inMorera Angadigalu, near the Megutihillock
Best Time to visit:
Durga Temple the tourist spots of Aihole due to its rich history and architectural features. The winter season (October – January) is the best time to visit the temple.
There are almost 125 temples at Aihole, the ancient capital of the Chalukya dynasty. Temple architecture of Aihole can be divided into two phases; one is the 4th and 5th century and the other is the 12th century. Numerous temples were built during this time span and every temple is unique in itself. Artisans experimented with the styles and created gems out of rock.
How To Reach:-
Aihole is 450 kms from Bengaluru. Hubballi is the nearest airport (140 kms from Aihole). Badami and Bagalakote are the nearest train stations (both 35 kms from Aihole) Aihole has good bus service and road connectivity from Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka.
Places to stay near Aihole: Three and four star hotels are available in Bagalakote and Badami towns (both 30-35 kms from Aihole).