Aihole has some of the most beautiful examples of Hindu temple architecture. It is also significant for historians, because an inscription that was discovered here helped them in piecing together the history of this period. During the Chalukyan period, Aihole was the experimental ground for different styles of temple construction.
Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal is considered cradle of Chalukyan Architecture. The oldest temple here is, perhaps, the Lad Khan temple dating back to the 5th Century. On the roof of the temple is another shrine-like Vimana.
Aihole was the first capital of the Chalukyas, before Pulakesi I shifted the capital to Vatapi (Badami). Aihole is home to some of the most beautiful and varied types of Hindu Architecture. This was the beginning of the era of great temple building in South India.
Durga Temple: The temple derives its name from Durgadagudi meaning ‘temple near the fort’. Dedicated to Vishnu, the temple appears to be a Hindu adaptation of the Buddhist chaitya (hall) with its apsidal end. Standing on a high platform with a ‘rekhanagara’ type of Shikhara, it is the most elaborately decorated monument in Aihole. The columns at the entrance and within the porch are carved with figures and ornamental relief’s. The temple appears to be a late 7th or early 8th century construction.
The Archaeological Site Museum is located in the Durga Temple complex. It was originally planned as a sculpture shed in the year 1970 and was converted in to a full fledged museum in the year 1987.
Lad Khan temple consists of a shrine with two mantapas in front of it. The shrine bears a Shiva lingam. The mukha mantapa in front of the sanctum has a set of twelve carved pillars. The sabhamantapa in front of the mukha mantapa has pillars arranged in such a manner as to form two concentric squares. Stone grids on the wall portray floral designs. Built in a Panchayat hall style, the temple construction reveals one of the first experiments in temple construction in Aihole. The windows, filled with lattice style, reveal a north Indian style of architecture. The temple had been built in late seventh or early eighth century.
Gowda temple dedicated to goddess Bhagavathi, had built on similar lines as the Lad Khan. It has sixteen plain pillars. Temple had been built earlier that only earlier Khan temple.
Suryanarayana temple has a .6 meters (2.0 ft) high statue of Surya along with his consorts, Usha and Sandhya, drawn by horses. The temple, dating from the seventh or eighth century, has a four pillared inner sanctum and a nagara style tower.
Aihole is located about 124 km / 77 miles northwest of Hampi, was the ancient capital of the Chalukyas. The temples of Aihole ( 125 plus in number ) are known for the experiment of different styles of architectures that used to construct them. Dated from around 6th century to 12th century CE , some of the Aihole temples are examples of rock architecture at its best.
Food Specialities No specialty restaurants are available at Aihole. Small tea shops serving snacks can be found. Food can be served by the Tourist Homes at Aihole but on advance notice
Shopping at Aihole Ilkal (36 Kms) is famous for its traditional handloom, art silk and silk sarees
The nearest airport is Belgaum-189 km, which is connected to Mumbai by Vayudoot flights.
The nearest railhead is Bagalkot — 34km on the Hubli-Sholapur meter gauge line.