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Photographer's Note

The village of Aihole (pronunciation: eye-HO-lee) contains over 125 temples from the Early Western Chalukya and later periods (6th - 11th century). Aihole is located near Badami in the state of Karnataka.

The Chalukyan style originated in Aihole around A.D. 450 and was perfected in the neighbouring villages of Badami and Pattadakal (all in Bagalkot district of Karnataka). Chalukyan artists experimented with different styles, blended the Indo-Aryan Nagara (of North India) and Dravidian styles (of South India), and evolved their own distinctive style. One can see magnificent examples of their earliest works in Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal. These certainly are not the earliest temples. Temples were constructed centuries before the 4th and 5th century A.D., but with wood and bricks and have not survived.

This late 7th century horse-shoe shaped “Durga Temple” was built during the reign of Vikramaditya II. The name "Durga" refers to a fort (from Sanskrit word – Durg), not to the goddess; apparently at one time the building was used as a military outpost (durg). It is not known to which deity the temple was originally dedicated. The photo was taken from the southwest corner. It shows the south wall and curved west end (rear) of the temple. The entrance is towards the east. The temple's unusual apsidal form (apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault) is thought to imitate the earlier Buddhist chaitya halls (rock-cut temple-halls). An inner wall of similar shape encloses the sanctuary. An incomplete tower perches on the roof above the sanctuary.

I had never seen such structure of a temple before seeing this, nor anything after. This is a gem created out of experiments of forms & shapes, different styles (North & South Indian, which are distinctly different) and is a glowing example of the kings/rulers who dared to experiment with architecture. Hence I thought of sharing this with you.

Scanned from print, colours adjusted by colour balance to bring out natural tones, noise removal.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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