Aihole is a historic site in North Karnataka along the Malaprabha river valley. It houses many spectacular architectures however the Aihole Durga Temple stands out among them.
The Aihole Durga Temple is an ancient medieval era temple. Owing to its unique “Quadrilateral” shape, this temple is also in the list of UNESCO Heritage sites but currently in the pending list.
The Aihole Durga Temple is composed of a semicircular apse, an en elevated plinth and a gallery that encircles the sanctum.
HISTORY OF AIHOLE DURGA TEMPLE
The name of the temple suggests that it is goddess Durga’s temple however here the Durga denotes to the “Durg” which means protector or a fortress. It does feature a Durga idol but this temple is primarily dedicated to Lord Shiva & Lord Vishnu along with Lord Brahma.
The Aihole Durga Temple was built around 7-8th Century by by the Chalukya Dynastry. Some people also believe that it once served as a part of the fortification of the Marathas sometime after that.
ARCHITECTURE OF AIHOLE DURGA TEMPLE
This temple is famous for its prominent sculptures and quadrilateral shape. The distinctive shape of the shrine is in Gajaprasta style, indicating it was built in the contours of the rear portion of an elephant. Numerous pillar reliefs are a hallmark of the structure and it also depicts a Buddhist Chaitya which features intricate carvings.
Also, the sculptures of Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Lord Narasimha & Lord Chamundi are splendid pieces of work. An exquisite sculpture of a seven headed serpent is carved on the ceiling of the Aihole Durga temple. The walls of the temple are replete with sculptures of various Hindu deities.
The construction of the temple is suggestive of Indian traditional architecture in the Dravida and Nagara styles, and its unusual shape is reminiscent of the early Buddhist style of building.
Since it is a part of of Heritage of our Country so regular rituals & worship are not performed her. The tourists can and visit the temple between 6 am – 6pm.