Aihole is rewarded as “the cradle of Hindu rock architecture“. There are about 125 temples divided into 22 groups spread all over the villages and nearby fields. Most of these temples at Aihole were built between the 6th and 8th centuries.
The most remarkable one is the Durga Temple, which is said to be built in late 7th or early 8th century. The Durga temple derives its name from “Durgadagudi” meaning ‘temple of the fort’. The features of this temple are semicircular apse, elevated plinth, and the gallery encircling the sanctum.
The Lad Khan Temple
The Lad Khan temple is located south of the Durga Temple. The Lad Khan temple gets its name from a Muslim prince who changed it into his residence. The windows of this temple were filled up with lattice work in the northern style and the sanctum was added later on. The temple is constructed in a Panchayat hall style, indicative of a very early experiment in constructing temples. The main shrine houses a Shiva Linga with Bull (Nandi).
Meguti Jain Temple
Meguti Jain temple is only dated monument in Aihole constructed in 634 AD. The Meguti Jain temple stands on a hillock. Now partly in ruins, the temple which was possibly never completed provides important proof of early development in Dravidian style of architecture. The dated inscription is found on one of the exterior walls of the temple and it records its construction by Ravikeerti, who was a commander and minister Pulikeshi II.
Hucchimalli Temple is said to be one of the earliest groups of temples at Aihole, built in the 7th century shows an evolution in the temple plan, the entrance hall in front of the sanctum was introduced for the first time here.
Ravanphadi cave is a rock cut temple located south-east of the Hucchimalli Temple. This temple is said to be built in 6th century. This temple houses with two mandapatas in front of it and also a rock cut Shiva linga. Ravanphadi cave temple with a sanctum larger than that of the Badami Cave Temples. The sanctum has an entrance hall with a triple entrance and has carved panels.
The Gowda temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagavati is built on similar lines as the Lad Khan temple. Standing on a high molded base, the Gowda temple houses sixteen plain pillars.
The other attractions of Aihole are the Suryanarayana Temple, Konti Group of Temples, Museum and Art Gallery.
Nearest Airport: Dabolim
Roads: Aihole is well connected by roads.