|The ASI board with information about Aihole|
...to snakes, which are again seen intermittently all over.... Look at this entrance of the sanctum.. Notice the snake pattern on the extreme left?
These snakes go all the way till the top of the entrance, where they meet, in the arms of a Garuda! At least, I suppose this is Garuda, since he is supposed to be an enemy of snakes.....
Even the ceiling just outside the sanctum has a snake... Adishesha???? Looks like this would have been a Vishnu temple!
Other parts of the ceiling are decorated with floral patterns... simpler definitely, but no less beautiful!
See how beautifully the pillars are decorated!
The wealth of detail is amazing!
This is a panel on the outside...
And this is one of the windows.... Notice that the five swastikas are interconnected? Try recreating them on paper and you will see that you can draw these five without once lifting the pencil from the paper!!! An old kolam book my great-aunt gave me has patterns like these. Now I know where they came from!
|Shiva with Nandi|
|Vishnu with Garuda?|
And then,there were these grotesque carvings too, probably Dwarves.... We were told this was a two faced one which would be seen in a similar way when seen upside down, but this wasn't as interesting as the ones we saw later!
Work on each of these pillars is beautiful....
But more interesting are some of the carvings on these pillars.... One of them has the Chalukya Emblem, featuring the Varaha, a conch, a Chakra (wheel) and another object which looks like a mirror. This emblem shows that the Chalukyas were firm devotees of Lord Vishnu. After all, the boar or Varaha was considered the Lord's third incarnation, the conch and the wheel are His insignia. The mirror might suggest that the Chalukyas were mirror images of the Lord's insignia, that is, they considered themselves His representatives.
There were more temples in the complex besides these two, but the post is getting much longer than I intended, so I shall settle for just some photos....
|A set of twin temples|
|Round pillars instead of square|
|Intricate detail on door frame|
Location: Aihole is about 510 Km from Bangalore, 115 Km from Hospet, and 36 Km from Badami.
How to get there: The nearest railway station is Badami, which is unfortunately quite a small station and not too well connected. The nearest important railway station would be Hubli, which is about 135 Km away.
The nearest airport is at Belgaum, about 200 Km away.
Accommodation: There are practically no hotels or places to stay at Aihole, which is just a small village. The best option is to stay at Badami, which has plenty of hotels and lodges, mostly low to mid-range. Cars can be hired to visit Aihole, Pattadakkal, Banashakari and Mahakuta, all of which can be covered in a single day.