Once the capital of the early Chalukyan dynasty (6th to 8th centuries) Aihole was once the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty, and is a city with a rich and illustrious history. It has great cultural significance as the cradle of Hindu temple architecture, and has more than 125 temples in and around it. Aihole is an archaeologists’ delight with several temples dating back to Chalukyan times. Excavation and investigation into the history of Aihole continues and several thousand tourists seek out the serene and spiritual ambiance of this city every year
The Aihole Inscription, believed to have been composed by the Jain poet Ravikeerthi, is a great source for reconstructing the history of this period. It records the achievements of Pulakesi II, especially his victory against Harshavardhana, the ruler of Northern India. The famous Chalukya King Pulakeshi II was follower of Jainism. Aihole inscription is dated 634 CE, in Sanskrit language and old Kannada script.
Dedicated to lord vishnu, this temple is the most elaborately decorated monument in Aihole. It owes its name due to its proximity to a fort or ‘Durg’ and not to Goddess Durga, which is a common misconception. The temple dates back to Chalukyan times and the elements of Dravida style in its architecture with exquisite carvings adorning the columns at the entrance attract several art enthusiasts every year.
lad khan temple This edifice was built by the Chalukyas and is named after a Muslim prince who converted it into his residence. This monument is evidence of the experimental nature of Chalukyan temple architecture. The temple was built in the Panchayat hall style with two sanctums. The main sanctum contains a Shiva Linga and a Nandi, whereas the second sanctum has intricate carvings on the outer wall. Both devotees and art lovers flock to this temple throughout the year.
the meguti temple This temple has the distinction of being the only dated monument in Aihole. It was built in 634 AD by Ravikeerti, Commander and Minister of Pulakesin II. Now partly in ruins, this temple is one of the earliest examples of the Dravidian style of architecture. It has been renovated over the years with a superstructure and a 16 column porch being added.
Ravanphadi Cave This rock temple dates back to the 6th century. It is provided with a vestibule with carved panels on either side, and has a triple entrance. It is most noteworthy for its adornments dedicated to Lord Shiva, with the Mahishasuramardhini, the great Dancing Shiva linga with Ganesha and sapta-matrikas present in the sanctum drawing several thousand visitors every year
Hucchimalli Temple Built in the 7th century, this is believed to be one of the earliest groups of temples in Aihole. The architectural practice of constructing a vestibule in front of the sanctum was introduced for the first time here. This temple has shrines dedicated to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Gowda Temple: This temple was built in the 12th century and has architectural elements in common with the Ladh Khan temple. It is dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathi. It has a high molded base and 16 pillars devoid of any carvings and adornments.
Suryanarayana Temple : This temple dates back to the 7th century and has a four pillared inner sanctum with a Rekhanagara tower over it. It is especially famous for a 2 feet tall statue of Surya along with Usha and Sandhya, his consorts.