Road Trip to Hampi-Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole-Vijaypura (Bijapur) from Mumbai


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After lunch, we started for Aihole.


We reached Aihole around 3.45 pm.

Aihole (Aryapura of the inscriptions) occupies a unique place in the history of temple architecture of India. It was the experimenting ground for the early Chalukyan Kings (450-750 A.D.) to build temples from the mid-fifth century onwards. There are around 100 temples at Aihole – 50 within the ancient fortified area and 50 at outside. Most of the temples were originally Vaishnavite and later converted into Shivaite temple.The early temples are of the pavilion type with slightly sloping roof. Later, experimentation took place to give a cognate shape to the temple roof by adding towers resulting evolution of three distinct types namely Dravida, Nagara and Kadamba-Nagara.

We first went to Ambigera Gudi complex.




This is the largest temple among the three temples of Ambigera Gudi complex. This temple has a Nagara Shikhara, Sanctum and Mantapa. This temple has two entrances – one from the right and another from the left of Mantapa. The inner ceiling of the Mantapa has lotus engraved. The doorframe of the Sanctum is highly embellished. The temple stands on an elevated platform and it is considered to be a 10th century creation.

As Ambigera (boatman) community stayed near it, the complex got its name.

From there, we went to another group of temples just across the road. These group of temples is the most visited place in Aihole. There is museum there but we have that a pass and straightway went to visit the temples.

We first went to Durga temple. This is not a temple of Goddess Durga but got its name because of its vicinity to fort (d\Durga). Though now it is a Shiva temple, originally it was a Surya temple. This temple was built by Atanda Ale Komarasingha during the days of Vikramaditya II. It is one of the finest example of experimentation in temple construction which took place at Aihole. The temple is of apsidal shape with its backside resembling the hind part of an elephant (Gajaprasthana). The temple stands on a high pedestal. It has a fallen Rekhanagara shikhara. Its collonades divides the temple into apse and ailes, and the columns pass behind the apsidal sanctum.


The temple has a frontal mantapa with steps to reach the temple from the east and the west. The temple is surrounded a parapet and short pillars support its roof with inner colonnade. The exterior has fine Ramayana scenes. The Mantapa pillars have figures of Gods and Goddesses and amorous couple. The Devakoshtas on exterior have Shiva riding Nandi, Vishnu, Mahisha-mardini etc.





The next temple at the right side of Durga temple is Suryanarayana temple. Assigned to 7th or 8th century, this temple has a Rekhanagara (curvilinear) Shikhara over garbhagriha. It has a four pillared frontal Mantapa. The Rnagamantapa ahs 4 long pillars and 12 half-pillars. The Mantapa has Kakshasanas. The Garbhagriha doorframe has Garuda at the lintel holding serpents, and also the figures of Ganga and Yamuna. Above that, there is a seated Surya figure. The sanctum has two feet long Surya figure and Mantapa ceilings has peculiar designs with four pillars in the sanctum too.



Ladhkhan temple was a hall originally for performing religious functions. Perhaps Pulikeshin I had performed horse sacrifice here. Later, it became a Surya temple and subsequently a Shivalaya. At the centre of the hall is elevated Nandimantapa surrounded by 4 pillars reaching the roof, and is surmounted by partially damaged curvilinear Shikhara with figure of Surya on frontal side. From the central pillars, rows of pillars radiate to four corners making it 16 in total. There is no Garbha griha and stone booth is fitted to the back wall of the hall to house the deity. The walls to the east, north and south have artistic lattice windows. The slanting ceiling radiates from the Shikhara above Nandi at the centre. The pillars here are massive. There is a frontal Mantapa added later with finely engraved pillars. There are fine sculptures of enormous couple, Ganga and Yamuna. This temple, one of the oldest of the lot, is named now after one ladh Khan who had made this place his residence. One of the pillars of this temple has Chalukya royal insignia, Varaha, engraved on it.




Gaudara temple appears to be the oldest temple among nearly 100 temples of Aihole which was a great commercial centre at the time of Chalukyas. It is a 5th century temple and it was aMahalaxmi or Bhagavati temple and at the time, the town was known as Bhagavati Kolla. The temple is on an elevated platform with 16 pillars at the exterior and stone slabs inserted in between to form the wall. Four inside pillars support the slanting roof. The temple has a sanctum with circumambulatory path. There are Kakshasanas with beautiful kalasha decoration behind them inside along the wall. Upper beams are higly embellished with chaitya loops housing a human head. The entrance of the Garbhagriha has Garuda at the lintel with Gajalakshmi with four elephants above it.



Assigned to 9th century, Chakragudi is known for its 20 sculptures of amorous couple engraved on the doorframe of the sanctum which has Garuda holding two snakes on the lintel. Above that, there is a relief sculpture of Dravida Shikhara. The temple has a Sanctum, a Rangamantapa and a Nagarshikhhara on the Garbhagriha. There is a prominent round Amalaka at the Stupiwhich may habe brought the name Chakragudi to the monument.


Assigned to the 9th century, Badiger Gudi is originally a Sun temple, as indicated by the Surya image on the projections of Rekhanagara (curvilinear) tower on the garbhagriha. The temple, in addition to the garbhagriha, has a Rangamantapa and Mukhamantapa and there is an image of Dakshabrahma in the temple.



There are many other unnamed temple in this complex.



There are a step well and step tank in this complex.



The next temple complex we visited is Jotyirlinga complex. There are 16 beautufully sculptured temples in this complex but most are in ruined condition. There is a 11th century Vishnu temple of Kalyani Chalukya style with Vishnu image in sanctum. Fine images of Surya and Mahisha Mardini are there in this compound. There are 12th century Sangamanatha temple, Bramha temple, Parashurama shrine and Ramalinga temple. Ramalinga temple is a practicing temple.





The Mallikarjuna Complex has five shrines. The Mallikarjuna, creation of perhaps 8th century, standing on a pedestal with Mukhamantapa, Rangamantapa and sanctum.Mantapa pillars have five sculptures – a female dancers with two female instrument players; seated Narashimha; erotic couple; Padhmanidhi etc. The temple has a ‘Phansama’ Sikhara.





After seeing Mallikarjuna complex, we started for Pattadakal but took brief stop to see the roadside Thryambakeswara complex. This site is not being maintained by ASI or any other government agency.

There are two monuments in this complex, standing on an elevated Adhisthana, facing west and they are 12th century Kalyani Chalukya work. There is a common vestibule for Garbhagrihas in each of the temple. The columns are square at the base and circular at the top.



Finally, we left Aihole around 5 pm. We spent around 1 hour 15 minutes which was grossly insufficient. To see Aihole properly, one needs to spend at least half-a-day if not a full day.

As mentioned above, Aihole has nearly 100 temples. Prominent temples/temple complexes are Huchimalli temple; Chikki temple; Ambiger temple; Durga temple; Gaudar, Ladhkhan and Suryanarayana temple complex; Chakragudi and Badiger temple; Rachi temple; Eniyar temple complex; Hucchappaya Math complex; Kunti temples complex; Charanti Math complex; Tryambakesvara group; Gauri temple, Jain temple in the village, Mallikarjuna temple complex, Jaina temple on the hill, Meguti temple, Jyotirlinga temple complex, rock cut caves (Ravan Phadi), Galaganatha temple complex, Ramaling groups.

During our short visit, what we noticed that only 5/6 complexes are being well maintained by ASI and rest are unprotected. Aihole is a hallmark of temple architecture and it should be preserved and protected carefully.

We reached Pattadakal around 5.30 pm.



The complex closes at 6 pm. So we decided to visit Pattadakal next morning and headed towards Badami.


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Day 5 (7th November, 2018)

We started from Badami at 8.15 am and reached Pattadakal at 8.40 am. The distance is ~22 km.


Pattadakal (Pattada-Kisuvolal of the inscriptions), on the bank of Malaprabha river, is the place where the early Chalukyan Kings used to be crowned. Along with Badami and Aihole, it was one of the great centres of temple architecture experimentation. It is here where Rekhanagara Prasada and Dravida Vimana style of temple architecture was given their final form. The Papantha, Kasivisveshzara, jambulinga and Galagantha temples with curvilinear shikhara represent Rekhanagara Prasada style. The Mallikarjuna, Sangameshvara and Virupaksha temples, having a square roofs of receding tiers represent Dravida Vimana style.

We first went to the Kadasiddeshwara temple. It is at the north-east corner of the complex. It is a small east facing 8th century Shiva temple constructed in Nagara style. It comprises of a square sanctuary with linga and a hall without pillars. The doorframe of the sanctuary is adorned with an image of Shiva-Parvati flanked by Bramha and Vishnu. The temple’s outer walls are raised on a basement which has an octagonal course, rounded beneath the wall niches on the three sides of the sanctuary. In the sanctuary’s walls, niches are images of Lakulisa (south), Harihara (west) and Ardhanasrisvar (north). They have Nagara pediments. The faces of curvilinear tower have courses of cornices raised diminutively. Each layer is carved with a gavaksha (horse shoe shaped blind window), flanked by split gavaksha. At the corners of the tower, are square cushion-shaped amalakas at regular intervals, three at each corner.


Then we went to Galaganatha temple.

This is also an east facing early 8th century Shiva temple. It is built on a plinth in the typical Nagara or North Indian style. Partially dilapidated, it comprises of a sanctuary with vestibule surrounded by an ambulatory having windowed porches on three sides. The adjoining hall in front is lost. The sanctuary’s exterior, seen in ambulatory, consists of a pedestal having a central projection on each side with Nagara moldings and corresponding empty wall niches. Each wall niche is flanked on either side carrying Nagara pediments. A sloping roof covers the ambulatory. The sanctuary’s doorjambs accommodate the figures of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. On the lintel is Nataraja. Over the architrave, a partially preserved Sukhansa projection is seen. The only surviving windowed porch on the south side shelters a beautifully sculpted panel showing Shiva piercing Andhaka demon. The bottom and top of the pillar shafts of the porch have ghata-pallava (vase and foliage). The sanctuary’s curvilinear tower has sharp cut features. On its each face are centrally rising layers of gavakshas accommodating human faces, flanked by half gavakshas. The corners of the tower have square cushion-shaped amalakas at regular intervals. The tower is capped by a large amalaka (a ribbed circular cushion) with a surmounting kalasha (pot-finial).




Adjacent to Galagantha temple is Jambulinga temple.

Jambulinga temple is a small east-facing 8th century Nagara style Shiva temple with a curvilinear superstructure. It comprises of a square sanctuary, a pillar less square hall and a separate Nandi platform in front. Its basement has a course of triple band moulding while the wall has thin plasters reliefs. On the cornice, runs a course of vyalamala. Each face of the curvilinear tower has a central course of cornices raised diminutively. Each layer curved with a central gavaksha flanked by split gavakshas. At the corners of the tower are square cushion shaped karna-amalakas at regular intervals, three at each corner. The upper components of the tower are missing. On the east face of the tower, leans a large slab with the figure of Nataraja within a large gavaksha. The wall niches have images of axe bearing Lakulisha (south), Harihara (west) and Vishnu (north).


Chandrasekhara temple was built around CE 750. On plan, it has a small and receding garbhagriha and a closed mandapa. A linga on a pedestal is housed in the garbhagriha. The exterior walls of the temple are decorated with pilasters at regular intervals. The garbhagriha doorframe is decorated with shakhas and dwar-pallavas while the mandapa doorframe is ornamented with shakhas. The shikhara over the shrine is missing. A mutilated sculpture of Nandi is placed over a square platform in front of the mandap.


Sangamesvara temple is east-facing Shiva temple in Dravida style dated from early part of 8th century. Its deity in linga from was named Vijayswara after the Chalukya king Vijayditya (686-733 CE). It was possibly the earliest stone temple erected by Chalukyas at Pattadakal. The temple comprises of a pillared hall and a sanctuary with an ambulatory around. There are two sub-sanctuaries flanking the ambulatory meant to enshrine Ganesha (south) and Mahishamardini (north). The hall was probably entered from three sides. The basement mouldings, walls with pilasters, the hara (parapet) and the tower etc. are strictly in accordance with Dravida tradition. The sculptures in the wall niches are unfinished in many cases suggesting that probably the temple was consecrated hurriedly even before the hall was completed. Some of the pillars of the hall were contributed by temple dancers like Chalabbe and other individuals. The inscribed stone in the hall dates from 1163CE and refers to the Kalyani Chalukkya king Taila III and his subordinate Chavundaraya.



Virupaksha temple is a Shiva temple. It is at the south-east corner of the temple complex. This temple, originally called Lokeshvara temple, was named after Lokamahadevi, the senior queen of Chalukya Vikramaditya II (733-44 CE) who built this temple to commemorate her husband’s three conquests of Pallava capital of Kanchipuram. The temple is situated within a large prakara (compound) along the inner face of which are several smaller shrines for Shiva-Parivara. The prakara has two gateways, larger on the east and the smaller on the west. The main temple on east-west axis consists of a porch, a large pillared hall entered also from a porch on south and north and a sanctuary inside entered through a narrow vestibule with ambulatory around. Two sub-shrines that flank the ambulatory are for Ganesha (south) and Mahishmardini (north). The Vimana exterior comprises of a high basement, walls with Kudya-Stambhas (thin pillar reliefs) and niches; and kapotas (cornice) topped by hara (parapet). Its tower has three storeys defined by haras (parapets), succeeded by a square griva (neck), a square sikhara (dome) and stupi (pot-finial). The sukhnasa, a protruding component over the vestibule henceforth became a common feature of the Dravidian temples in Karnataka. The temple is lavishly sculptured both inside and outside. This ambitious project was executed by two master architects Gunda-Anvaritachari and Sarvasiddhi-Achari on both of whom the king conferred the state honour. The Virupaksha temple represents the culmination of early Chalukyan Dravidian style temple.






Virupaksha temple, the only practicing temple of the entire temple complex. It has an access from the Mahaprabha river side so that devotees can come to the temple after having bath at the river and then come to the temple. The Nandi Mandapa stands there.


Mallikarjuna temple is a Dravidian-style Shiva temple which was commissioned by Trailokamahadevi, the sister of Lokamahadevi and the younger queen on Vikramaditya II (733-44ce). Its deity was named after her as Trailokyesvara. The temple shares many of its features including the plan with its larger neighbor Virupaksha. The temple consists of a pillared hall entered from three sides through porches and a sanctuatory with an ambulatory around. A major difference in the elevation of the Vimana is that its three-stroeyed tower is capped by a circular sikhara (dome) with stupi (pot-finial) over it.



There are several sculptures of Shiva and Vaishnava theme on the exterior of the temple.


The hall’s internal pillar faces carry carvings of narrative episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Krishnacharitra and Panchatantra.


The Kashivishveshvara temple is a compact east-facing Shiva temple in Nagara (North-Indian) style. It consists of a transverse rectangular hall, a small vestibule and a square sanctuary, the proch being lost. The dates suggested to this temple range from 8th to 9th centuries. The sanctuary consists of a high basement divided into projections with typical Nagara mouldings. The wall over it is raised corresponding to these projections and the central and corner projections accommodate niches carrying nagara pediments. The upper part of the wall carries a band of Kiritmukhas linked to one another by bead-gralnads emerging from their mouths. The faces of the curvilinear tower are decorated with interlaced gavakshas. The crowning members if the tower Amalaka and Kalasha are lots. A sukhanasa projection with similar gavaksha lace-work, accomodates an eight-armed Nataraja in front. The decoration of the walls of the hall is similar to that of sanctuary. It is more ornate with well carved pillars, brackets, beams and architraves. The concept, design and execution of this temple shows great advancement of the larger Nagara temples of the Chalukyas.



The temple complex has few other temples and shrines. It’s a grand example of sophistication of temple architecture prevailing at that point of time.




We started for Almati dam at 10.10 am.

To continue.....