Located on the banks of the Malaprabha River, the village of Aihole in Karnataka is a veritable mélange of ancient Hindu temple architecture. Hundreds of temple structures dot the serene surroundings of the village and the fields nearby. During the reign of the Chalukyas, Aihole was the first capital of the Chalukyan Empire. The name Aihole originated from a legend associated with the cult figure of Parashurama in Hindu mythology.
The cluster of temples in Aihole belongs to two ages, first in the 6th
and 7th centuries and the second set of temples belonging to the 12th
and 13th centuries. The prominent temple groups are the Kontigudi group
and the Galaganatha group. The Kontigudi group is a set of three temples
consisting of the Lad Khan temple, Huchiappayyagudi temple and the
The Galaganatha group has nearly 30 temples scattered on the bank of
the river Malaprabha. Galaganatha temples are characterized by a
curvilinear shikhara above the Garba Griha and images of the deities of
Ganga and Yamuna at the entrance to the shrine.
Devotees travel to this quaint village in large numbers. The
magnificent temples of Aihole should be promoted in the media to tap
their tourism potential.