Aihole, Bagalkot Karnataka

Aihole, is located in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It has a cluster of temples, beautifully carved dating back to the 6th century. When I say cluster, it is not 10 or 20 but 120 to 130 temples scattered in a rocky land of 7kms radius. Each temple has a unique architecture. We spent more than 3 hours scouring the temple for the visual delights.

The Durga temple near the entrance to the main temple complex has a ‘U’ shaped structure, thought to imitate the Buddhist chaitya halls. And we were told this is the temple which inspired the architectural plans of India’s parliament building. An elaborately decorated building, Goddess Durga is not worshipped here, the name Durga comes from ‘Durgadagudi’ meaning the temple near the fort.

The other important temple in this complex is the Lad Khan temple. It is the oldest temple of Aihole dating back to 5th century. We were surprised by the Muslim name to the Hindu temple. The guide then told us that it actually was a royal assembly hall where Pulakeshan I had performed the horse sacrifice and later used for religious functions also. A Muslim official ‘Lad Khan’ used the building as his residence, since then the building got this name.

There are many other temples scattered around. Some of them hardly had any demarcation from the local houses. The archeological Survey of India has done some restoration work to some of the buildings. Aihole has the potential to be included as a UNSECO World heritage site.

Hubli Airport is the closest airport. The nearest railheads are at Bagalkot and Badami. Aihole is connected by road with Pattadakkal (19 km), Badami and Bangalore.
Best time to visit is from October to February.

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59 Responses

  1. Carver says:

    Those are beautiful temples. I love the bas relief sculpture.

  2. James says:

    There are so many amazing places in India. Thanks for sharing. This post is really good.

  3. James says:

    There are so many amazing places in India. Thanks for sharing. This post is really good.

  4. Gaelyn says:

    Yet another wonderful tour. So many temples in such a small area. I always like the carvings.

  5. What an interesting place. The photos are fantastic, but I would LOVE to see this in person!

  6. ewok1993 says:

    You always manage to show us something really fascinating. India is so wealthy of historical reminders.

  7. With so much intriguing architecture, no wonder you spent 3 hours there! Do your loved ones share your love for photography, Indrani?

  8. Rush says:

    my native place being Karnataka…its one place ive barely opened my eyes to…ur posts get the yearning out of me.

  9. Snap says:


    Wonderful post. I love to see photos of the temples. Beautiful shots. Hope Aihole makes a UNSECO heritage site.

  10. That is a nice trivia about the U shaped Durga temple being the inspiration for our Parliament building.

  11. That looks like yet another wonderful place. Thanks.

  12. Rajesh says:

    Thanks for refreshing the memory. I had been long back.

  13. Swarna says:

    Despite spending 5+years in Bangalore, I have not been able to cover very many places in Karnataka. But it's simply great to read about all those places.

  14. Anu says:

    beautiful pics, and what work!!! really, theres nothing to beat ancient indian temple architecture and sculpture…..

  15. alicesg says:

    Love the rich history and cultures of your country. These beatiful sculptures and buildings are really interesting and beautiful. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Are you visiting my country? Hope you have fun if you come here. Do visit all the malls and places of interests. Hope the information in my blog helps you in your travel plan.

  16. chrome3d says:

    130 temples? 3 hours in that heat? Huh, that makes me tired already but I would spend even more time there snapping away.

  17. Martha Z says:

    What a facinating place. I suspect one could spend days exploring. So very different than my Green Creek. The world is full of wonderful places.

  18. Pietro says:

    Indrani, how I'd like to see in person these fascinating temples! What fine places!
    I've enjoyed the whole sequence of images!

  19. Ebie says:

    It is always an adventure for me to see these magnificent Temples. As always I have enjoyed your posts.

  20. Dora says:

    6th century? So long already. They're well preserved.

  21. Arija says:

    Lovely high relief sculptures on this temple.

  22. Arija says:

    Lovely high relief sculptures on this temple.

  23. sujata says:

    the first pic definitely looks like our parliament.and naming a temple after a muslim general does speak a lot about the unity of cultures in the past. Beautiful post once again..I keep asking you but havent got an answer do you get the time to travel so much?

  24. Thanks all of you for the lovely comments. 🙂

    Hey Sujata, I travel during school vacations. 🙂

  25. magiceye says:

    that indeed is amazing! had heard of aihole before but this is the 1st time that i read about it in such concise yet exhaustive terms!thank you so much!

  26. M.Kate says:

    They are beautiful Indrani, again reminding me of Angkor, Cambodia. Hope you are doing fine and well, hugs/M

  27. Wolynski says:

    130 temples in a 5 mile radius? That's a lot of building and a lot of worshiping. But I guess it kept the local population busy with construction. Lovely photos.

  28. Irene Toh says:

    Such a rich heritage.

  29. GMG says:

    Hi Indrani!
    Lovely place, wonderful post… One more site to put in my list!!

    Blogtrotter is leaving Iceland, but before departing it shows you the incredible Blue Lagoon. Enjoy and have a fabulous week!

  30. Reader Wil says:

    India has a much older culture than we in the north of Europe have. Your buildings were already so sophisticated, when we still lived in huts. Thanks for sharing this post.

  31. LadyFi says:

    So many amazing and unique temples! How wonderful to explore these old old artifacts.

  32. Prospero says:

    I don't like the sound of the horse sacrifice, but, what a fabulously interesting area.

  33. Pam says:

    I enjoyed see your wonderful photos of this historical place, Indrani. Thanks for sharing your world with us.

  34. Lakshmi says:

    been to this place many years ago and now we are researching on a trail ..good to revisit the place again through yr blog

  35. J says:

    that temple must've been truly amazing during its heyday!

  36. radha says:

    So beautiful. To think all this was conceived and constructed in ancient times!

  37. And so it should become a world heeeeeritage siste. Lovely feeling about it that comes across easily in the photos!

  38. koala says:

    Now that's impressive architecture!

  39. Lawstude says:

    a really amazing structure. your country really has rich culture. i hope i can explore it sometime.

  40. Hi Indrani,
    That's too good… Aihole is one of my fav. places in the 'TO VISIT SOON' list… 🙂
    My Travelogue

  41. Great space! Very interesting pictures!

  42. Hilary says:

    Beautiful. You bring us to the most incredible places.

  43. Robin says:

    Great pics…..
    Thanks for sharing

  44. JO says:

    the world is full of wonderful places that we can only see through the web…

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

  45. oh lovely.. Indrani!! what a beautiful post. I wish I lived in India… I hope to visit this place some day!

  46. Anya says:

    So lovely sculpture,
    its so special :)))))
    Those temples are very beautiful!!!
    Thanks for the fantastic shots
    and your nice words.
    I always enjoyed your post:)

    Its here 32grC pfffff…….
    so hot weather, tomorrow 34grC 🙁
    Kareltje =^.^=
    Anya 🙂

  47. Wow! I do wish they include it. It deserves to be, that is why. I am amazed and fascinated with such splendid works of art that bore witness to a time or part of the culture that has left its mark in eternity. I would love to visit these temples.

  48. Regina says:

    Very intricate !
    Beautiful side of the world

  49. Nessa says:

    I am always amazed at the work of the peoples from our past.

  50. Quite a well thought out write up and pictures…It's informative and beautiful…loved it…thank you for sharing India with us.
    Your Canadian friend

  51. Kamini says:

    Once again, you have brought history alive with your words and pictures. Thank you.

  52. Great builders of the past and their works are surely a testimony of their skills.

  53. Sharodindu says:

    Another Amazing post!
    Indrani, your posts are simply invincible…
    Incredible photographs along with informative line…Great work!

  54. Hazel says:

    130 temples! I could spend all day roaming. Thanks again for sharing.

    I got something for you at my blog. Kindly check it out when you have time.

  55. Sham Sankar says:

    That was some new information about the old world. The inspiration for the Parliament Building is amazing.
    So much of untold history lying around waiting to be dusted and peered into. Thank You for having the eye for that, that which make us see too.

  56. chhabi says:

    information with photo. nice work.

  57. Kcalpesh says:

    This is really amazing. 120-130 temples in a cluster with such beautiful sculptures must be great experience visiting… Nice Post!

  58. Jeevan says:

    The number of cluster rocks!!

    Yes, the U shape is similar to parliament building! The place looks delight and neat, must appreciate ASI to make this place more worth. nice post indrani!

  59. Yogi Saraswat says:

    This is the post I was looking for . Actually somebody write a comment on my post “” that same cluster of temples is found in Aihole too and since then I was looking for it . Beautifully narrated post as always Indrani ji . I would be happy if you visit my post and compare both places.

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