As soon as you enter Aihole, you are greeted with a vibrant rural life intrigued with the ruins of the past. Once the capital of Chalukya Kings, Aihole still seems to stand in the past telling stories through its temples, sculptures and heritage sites. People over here are simple and so is their life. Villagers smile at you and children come running posing for a picture as you walk through its narrow lanes. Located around 35 kilometers from Badami, Aihole is a small village with 125 stone temples dating back to 5th to 8th Century. Some of these temples have been beautifully renovated by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) while other structures still stand as such spread through out and outside the village. Out of all, Kontigudi and Galaganatha group of temples are the most prominent.
We left early from Badami and boarded 8:45 AM bus for Aihole. In another hour, bus dropped us near a banyan tree just outside the main temple complex and we were one of the few early visitors as we stepped inside (Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM). Here is our day at Aihole through our pictures as we went on to capture its heritage and life with our camera –
Shri Durga Temple complex comes first as you step inside. Actually, it is not the temple of Goddess Durga, but addressed so due to its vicinity to the fort (known as Durga in Hindi). Though it is now a Shiva Temple now, originally it was a Sun Temple.
Around half a kilometer walk from Durga Temple complex is a rock cut shrine – Ravanaphadi
Meguti Jain Temple – You can see its boundary from far as it stands tall on a hill. You need to walk almost half a kilometer from Durga temple and climb few stairs to reach to the temple at hilltop. From top of the hill, you also get panoramic views of the village with blue, brown, white and green shades.
There are so many temples and ruins in Aihole that even days will not be enough to cover them all. So, decide for you which direction would you like to take and what you would like to explore.
Aihole Rural Life
Beyond its temples and ruins, there is a beautiful life residing inside the rocks of Aihole as you get mesmerized by the energy and warmth of these simple villagers. Here is our capture of the life at Aihole –
Aihole is an altogehter different world and you will be immersed in the rustic beauty of this place. It certainly scores in the top offbeat destinations that you can look to explore in Karnataka.
How to reach Aihole
Aihole is around 35 kilometers from Badami. You can catch a state transport bus from Badami Bus Stand to reach Aihole in around one and quarter hour. We had boarded 8:45 AM bus. You may check the bus timings in advance from the bus stop and plan your trip accordingly as bus frequency varies.
Happy Exploration !!