Mallikarjuna group of temples located in Aihole, Karnataka, 35 km north-east of Badami, is built in 8th century CE by Chalukyas.
Consisting of 5 shrines, these temples showcase remarkable artistic, architectural and execution skills of those times.
The walls and the pillars of the main Shiva temple are intricately carved with themes such as Vishnu, Narasimha, Ganesha, musicians and dancers. The stepwell in the complex is restored, is in good shape.
Shikhara above the Garbhagriha dominates the view; sloped roof of inner praakaras are typical of Aihole architecture.
An amazing treasure indeed!
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Aihole was the first capital of Chalukyas (5th century CE) and had an illustrious history during 5th to 8th century CE. Capital was later moved to Badami (Vatapi).
Aihole holds great cultural significance as the cradle of temple architecture. Chalukyan architecture was the front runner, and laid the foundation for many more to follow – such as Hoysala, Rashtrakuta, Kakatiya, Vijayanagara – over the next 1000+ years.
Chalukya dynasty (5th to 8th century CE) later led to creation of Western Chalukyas (Kalyani based, Karnataka / Telangana regions) and Eastern Chalukyas (Vengi based, Andhra and Orissa regions).
Aihole and Malaprabha river are ancient, associated with Parashurama’s times (Threta Yuga).
Aihole is a treasure, with 125+ structures dating back to Chalukyan times (5th to 8th century CE). Excavations and discoveries still continue here.