Aihole has a group of temples built by the rulers of Chalukya dynasty. The construction of the temples was based on early Hindu architecture. The artisans of the period cut the rocks in order to build the temples. The towers of the temples were curved with blind arch which was inherited from north Indian style.
The walls were plastered and panels were inserted in them. Another style inherited by Chalukyas was the Deccan style which includes balcony seating, sloping roofs, carved columns and other things. All these styles were combined and came to be known as Chalukya style.
There are many Hindu temples which were built during the Chalukya period. Some of them are as follows −
Durga Temple also known as Fortress Temple is well-planned and has adisthana and a tower. The adisthana was highly moulded. The temple has a corridor around it which is pillared and envelopes the shrine.
The Lad Khan temple has two matapas which looks like Shiva Linga. These mantapas are Mukhamantapa and Sabhamantapa. The mukhmantapa rests on twelve pillars while the pillars on which the sabhamantapa rests are arranged in two concentric squares.
The temple has lattice style windows and carved walls with floral designs. The temple was named so because a general named Lad Khan lived here.
Ravana Phadi Cave temple was built in sixth century. It has a rectangular shrine with two mantapas. There is an inner room where a Shiva Linga is established. There are large figures of Lord Shiva on the walls which also include dancing Shiva.
Huchappayya temple is a Shiva temple built nearby Malaprabha river. The temple has mukhamantapa, a hall, and sanctum. The porch and hall have pillars having carved images of gods with their spouse. The image of Nataraja can be seen on the roof of the temple.
The group of Yeniar shrines consists of eight temples which were built in 12th century. Each temple has a porch along with a cella and a hall. The temples were constructed on the banks of Malaprabha river.
The main temple in this group is Ramlinga which is a trikutachala shrine. Out of these three, two have Shiva Linga and the third has the image of Goddess Parvati. This shrine was built in 11th century AD. Along with these there are two towers called Kadambanagara towers which was a temple form of architecture founded in 4th century by Mayurasharma, founder of Kadamba dynasty.
Galaganatha Group of Temples were built on the banks of Malaprabha river in which the main Shrine is Galaganatha which has the statue of Lord Shiva. The images of Ganga and Yamuna can be found at the entrance. Total number of temples in this group is 38 and besides Galaganatha, most of them are ruined.
The temple has three statues which includes Surya and his wives Usha and Sandhya. All the statues are being drawn by horses. The height of Surya’s statue is 0.6m. There is a four pillared sanctum along with a tower of Nagara style.
Chakra Gudi consists of a hall and a sanctum. Along with these, there is a tower which was built on the basis of rekhanagara style. The temple is supposed to be built in 9th century. Badigera Gudi has a porch, hall, cell and a tower. The tower was built in Rekhanagara style. Previously this temple was a Sun temple. This temple was also built in 9th century.
There are three temples in the Ambigera group of temples. The rekhanagara style tower can be found on the biggest one. The temple is supposed to be built in 10th century. In the Chikkigudi group of temples, Chikkigudi is the largest one having a hall, a cell, and a mantapa. It is supposed to be built in 7th century.
Huchimalli Gudi has ardhamantapa which is connected to the main shrine. The sanctum of the temple is prasakshinapath and has a tower in rekhanagara style. A new thing introduced in the temple was Shukanasa or vestibule.
Gaudara Gudi was built on the same architecture as the Lad Khan Temple. There are sixteen pillars on the outer wall and the base of the temple is moulded. There is an inscription in the temple which is supposed to be of 8th century which tells that the temple was known as Bhagwati temple.
Rachi Gudi was constructed in 11th century. It has a trikutachala each having Lord Shiva’s image. The temple stands on a high platform and the cells face three different sides. The external walls of the temple has the images of Ganapati, Nataraja, and Vishnu.
Huchappayya Matha is a temple having a sanctum and a hall. The ceiling has trimurti figure and there is an inscription of 1067AD. Halabasappana Gudi is a small temple which has a hall and a sanctum.
The idols of Ganga and Yamuna can be found at the entrance. The size of the temple is not very big.
Kontigudi Group of Temples include four temples which were constructed in 7th century. The first temple in this group has trimurty idols on the ceiling of the mantapa. Later many other things were added to the temple. One of the four temples constructed in 10th century has been ruined.