Durg Temple Aihole

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1. Aihole is known as the Cradle of Indian Temple Architecture. U see Durg Temple. With its back resembling the hind part of an elephant it has a fallen shikhara. It is built on the lines of the Buddhist Chaitya with an apsidal shaped cella shaped over which rises like a shikhara. The temple is surrounded by a parapet and short pillars that (you see) support the devakoshtas, mantap pikars and other images.

2. This is not the temple of goddess Durga but is called Durg due to its vicinity to the fort (durg). It is now a Shiv temple, originally a Surya temple. It was built by Aatada Ale Komarasingha during the days of Vikramaditya II. Shikhara is damaged. Note temple plinth, pillars and carvings on them. The temple has a mukha mandap, sabha mandap, gargagraha and pradakshapatra for circumbulation.

3. It is made in North Indian style. A close up view of the pillars and sculptures of the mukha mantapa. Aihole is about an hours drive from Badami. First is Pattadakal and then Aihole. There are app 123 temples. Some temples in enclosed area, others in villages and 2 rock cut temples.

4. A view of the Durg Temple taken from top of hill where stands a Jain temple. Loved the Durg temple. Semi circular shape reminds me of the Parliament House in New Delhi.

5. In between the short pillars that are support the temple are sculptures that you see. Behind the pillar is corridor and then is the temple sanctum. Temple was made in 742 A.D.

6. The biggest temple complex in Aihole is the one that has Durg Temple. This group of smiling and lively girls from Badami insisted that I take their picture in front of the plinth of the Durg Temple. Not the sculptures above their heads and on right of picture.

7. As you enter the temple look at the ceiling to see 7 headed snake or Sapthnagini.

8. See MATSYA AVATAR – the Fish Incarnation of Lord Vishnu Matsya, the one horned fish, is the first among the Dasa Avatara of Lord Vishnu. The core concept of Hinduism is that there is no beginning or end. There is only transformation. When man abandons Dharma and ventures into the territory of Adharma, Nature starts its destructive transformation. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya to save all that was good in the world before its destruction.

9. The next four pictures show you different types of pillar design. Tried a plain design first, then improvised with each pillar. U see a plain design pillar.

10. This has more design and carvings.

11. This picture has a two sided view of the pillar. The space that you see in the background is the passage ie all around the temple as you shall see later. U see carvings of ornaments and soldiers.

12. Another view of the column this time there is a Ganesha sculpture on left of picture. Note that there are five levels of carvings and the ceiling design on extreme right of picture.

13. In the centre is the entrance to the sabha mandap. In centre of picture u see two elephant design beams to support the structure. Not a great pic due to sunlight but wanted you see the beam design. In the next two pictures u will see intricate design ie part of the main entrance frame.

14. U see design next to sabha mandap entrance. Left to right first design is snake, next is flower, third is column, 4th is ladies design, 5th is crocadile. Note all this is

At the U see design next to sabha mandap entrance. Right to left first design is snake (damaged), next is flower, third is column, 4th is ladies design, 5th is crocadile.

16. You see the Sabha Mandap. As in Buddhist Chaityas there are two rows of columns that divide the hall. The pillars are square and heavy and contain sculptures of dwarfs in amusing attitudes.

17. The wall all around the sabha mandap has o/s carvings. You see a window with Swastik design. The design allows for sunlight to come in.

18. Three Bagi (style) Shiva. In case you find any errors in narrations please write in, would be happy to correct. For a articulate, Hindi English speaking guide contact Ramesh 94181707823.

19. Narasimha is the fourth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. He is often visualised as half man half lion. He is a God of Strength and Energy ie prayed to. To read more click here

20. This is the corridor that is all around the outer wall of the temple. There are pillars in the temple and smaller ones to support the structure as you can see in the right of the picture.

21. Varaha is the third Avatar of the Hindu Godhead Vishnu, in the form of a Boar. He appeared in order to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth (Prithvi) and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story.

22. This is Deviroop killing the Asura who is in the form of a Mahisha (ie male buffalo) so she is known as Mahishasuramardini. Mahisha is male buffalo, asura is demon, mardhini means slay.

23. U see Harihara ie the name of a combined deity form of both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara)The Ardha Chandra (half moon), Kapala (pot) Tiger skin is worn by Shiva while Vishnu wears a Crown with ornaments tied in Arms and a Shankh in hand. We see this two-in-one image as Vishnu, left half blue and Shiva, right half white with their respective ornaments and other decorations.

24. An overview of the complex. What you see right in front is the Cottage temple or Chapar temple. It is evidence of roof type houses that were evident during the Chalukyan regime. The temple has garbhagraha, pradakshnapath and antarala mukha mantap.

25. A pillar inside the Cottage Temple. A near similar pillar design existed in the Kashi Vishwanatha temple at Pattadakal. Made 8th century.

26. Dikutta or Nayidara temple. The pillars are circular and resemble that of Halebid and Belur temples. The shikhar is made in south Indian style. It has two garbhagrihas or sanctums.

27. In Kannada temple is called Gudi. Board of Suryanarayana temple. Assigned to 7th or 8th century.

28. It is a small temple made in north Indian style. It has a 4 pillared frontal Mantapa as u can see in picture. The sanctum has a Surya figure that you shall see next.

29. Surya Devata or Sun God made in green stone. Ladies on lower level, left is Usha right is Sandhya. Above head is Navagraha. Below feet is a chariots with 7 horses representing 7 days of the week. In left and right hand is Lotus flower.

30. Board of Ladkhan temple, ie dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is one of the oldest monuments named after one Ladkhan who made it his residence. Made 500 A.D.

31. An overview of the temple. The frontal mantapa that you see in front of picture has 12 finely engraved pillars. It does not have a typical Shikara. It has a primitive air about it with a cave like appearance.

32. A side view of the temple gives you a idea of its size. On the ceiling of the temple u can see stone protruding out all over the ceiling. The next picture explains this. Also see the 3 windows that allow natural light to come inside. Extreme right of picture note the carvings.

33. At the joints between two pieces of stone is placed another longer stone that covers the joints to prevent water from going into the temple. U see the rectangular shrine on top of the temple that has 3 icons of Vishnu, Surya and Devi. U see Lord Vishnu in the centre.

34. Inside the temple is the Royal Emblem of the Chalukyas. In the centre is Varaha (boar), above that is Coonch, to its right is Chakra (wheel) and right is mirror.

35. U see the lingam inside the temple. U see the doorkeepers Jaya and Vijaya. For Shiv temples the doorkeepers are Badra and Virbhadra.

36. Nandi inside the temple. In both Aihole and Pattadakal saw Nandis that were both inside and outside the temple. Although later and even today all Shiv temples have Nandi outside the temple.

37. Gaudaragudi temple is the first of the 100 odd temples in Aihole of the 5th century. It was a Mahalaxmi or Bhagavati temple and the town was also known as `Bhagwati Kolla`. Aihole or Ayyavole was a great commercial centre in the days of the Chalukyas.

38. The temple stands on an elevated platform with 16 pillars at the exterior. Temple has a sanctum with a circumambulatory path. The entrance of the Garbhagriha has Garuda at the lintel with Gajalakshmi with 4 elephants above it. This must be the Bhagwati temple worshiped by the famous trade guild of Aihole.

39. Chakragudi temple is towards the end of this temple complex.

40. Assigned to 9th century it is known for its 20 sculptures of amorous couple engraved in the door frame. I have noticed that every collection of monuments has a water tank where water got collected for use. An excellent way of what we call `water harvesting` today. For narrations taken inputs from Tourist Guide published by Shri Veeresh B Angadi and Shri T N Sethumadhavan.

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