Home to the temple complex, Aihole is known for its incredible architectural monuments, whereby the structures are exquisitely carved out of rocks. Representing the era of the Chaulakyas, the architectural structure represents not just the Chalukyan style but also Dravidian as well. The ancient Durga temple belongs to the Dravidian style of architecture and is famously known for its exquisite and spiritual corridors that balance the temple from all sides. Dating back to the 6th century BC, the temple is carved out of a single rock and has many intricate carvings on its walls as well.
When you speak of the Durga temple, the first thing that comes to your mind is the extraordinary architectural piece of beauty that the temple represents. Most of the tourists get overwhelmed by the brilliant style of the temple, with colorful blocks of carvings of not just structures and other mythological sculptures, but also paintings, which directly symbolize the Holy Scriptures. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, who represents the cult of Shakti, the temple now has no deity in command, and thus stands completely desolate.
A short view of the Durga temple
According to most of the historians and the locals living at Aihole, the Durga temple was considered to be the most famous temple here, completely dedicated to Goddess Durga. Built by Chalukya and embellishing it with complete Dravidian architecture, the richness of the temple lies in its constructive efforts, whereby the corridors are effortlessly carved out of rocks, but all of them stand in ruins now. Each of the corridors looks forward to the various directions and holds a unique blend of history and mystery.
The temple structure was first designed like a Buddhist temple, but it was under the influence of the Mauryas and the Chaulakyas that great architectural confluence was integrated into the temple, thereby making it exquisite. The structure of the temple was earlier seen as a Pan-Indian heritage that was dedicated to Buddhism.
How did the Durga Temple receive its name?
As the legends go, Goddess Durga was sent to the earth to destroy all the demons. Mounted on a lion and pointing her weapon towards the evil Mahishasur, the image of Durga completely symbolizes the victory of good over the evil. In addition to that, the temple also showcases the image of the deities of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, thereby corresponding to the fact that the temple might have been earlier dedicated to them.
While the controversy of the origin of the Durga temple is unknown, it is under the influence of the leaders of the Maratha Empire that the name Durga temple was given. Since Durga is derived from the word Durg, which refers to the fortress, therefore, the temple is more or less like a fortress dedicated to the deity.
Pondering over the architectural magnificence of the Durga temple
Built under the influence of the Chalukyan and the Dravidian architecture, the temple is famous for its lavish corridors that speak of the ancient scriptures and the Hindu texts. The dome-like the structure of the wall has famous paintings of the gods and goddesses, and you can simply admire the architectural beauty that the temple showcases. The devotees pay their respect to this temple that once had the idol of Goddess Durga.
The temple is connected with two spiral stairways, thereby leading to a flat porch, which is more or less like a base. The platform is then attached to two pillars on either side, thereby balancing the roof. It is really splendid to think of the architectural mind that the makers possessed. On entering the temple and crossing the staircases, a hallway leads to the inner temple premises, which houses certain small temples dedicated to other deities. These temples are magnificent, too and speak of great beauty and style.
On crossing the hallway, the main sanctorum is present, which houses the main deity. But at present, no deity is present there, and the Garba Griha lies totally empty and desolate. Since the pillar balances the roof, an arch-like structure is created. Even the corridors make use of the pillars in getting it lighted and the shikhara also make the temple more unique and extravagant.
The arch-like structure completely rests on the temple edges, making the temple look like an elephant’s back. Keeping up to the structure, the temple also goes by the name of vanaprastha or simply the Elephant’s back. The entire temple has the display of numerous gods and goddesses on its walls, and therefore, it also showcases the image of Lord Shiva as well. The corridor of the temple is the most important as Lord Shiva, and its Bull Nandi occupies the place. Even Lord Vishnu and all of its avatars are present one by one in complete alignment in the corridors.
Reaching the Durga temple
Aihole is connected not just from Bengaluru but also from other cities like Badami and Belgaum. Additionally, transport facilities are also at their best, as cars and buses make way for the city in thru all routes. When travelling by air, the nearest airport is Hubli, which is around 100 km to 110 km. Shuttle services, buses, and private cars are available from the airport to take you to the required destination.