May 23, 2012

Galaganatha Temple Complex, Aihole

Dec 16, 2011

I drive down from Ramlingesvara temple and park my Maruti under an umbrella shaped tree. All trees are beautiful but this one is little more than beautiful. I feel in love it with it! See a car under the tree?

In the shade of this wonderful tree, stone workers shape slabs for the ongoing renovation. The group leader suggested me to take a shortcut by climbing across the wall :) I did. There must be 20 to 25 temples of various sizes. In the background, on the hill are Aihole fort and Meguthi temple.View of the complex from the wall.

I took a few minutes to decide the starting point of my tour ...I started from the temple closest to the rear exit of this compound. Most temples are in ruins and deities are missing. These temples are built on a slope of a rocky hillock.

Most temples are sans Shikhara.

This little temple must have looked beautiful during its hey days. The carved flanks besides the steps is a common feature to many temples of Aihole.

Square columns with octagonal sections..

Between this temple and the hill in the background flows river Malaprabha. The stocky pedestal on the floor ...I wonder what it is for.

A small shrine with square pillars.

Gajalakshmi on a Garbhagudi doorway.

Now I'm closer to the center of Galaganatha complex.

A small room, an adjoining rock forms a part of  the walls. Notice a stone-cut trench coming out from the left side. Surely that was for water to flow out. So is this a temple or a bathroom for priests?

Cylindrical columns ...similar to Roman buildings.

A decorated doorway. Each level has a theme

A damaged sculpture of Basavanna sits in the middle of a courtyard. A Torana can be seen on the right.

A temple with two Kadamba-Nagara Shikharas. I remember seeing temples similar in plan; Jodu-Kalasa Gudi at Sudi and Kasivisvesvara temple of Lakkundi, though all are different on the outside.

Other two temples around the courtyard. Many temples of Aihole are squarish and fully covered with walls like the one seen here.

I consider this as the center of Galaganatha complex. The Torana, back then visitors would pass through this gateway.

This must be Galaganatha temple, the exterior is heavily decorated with floral and other works of art. I remember seeing a case with flowers in it on one of the outer walls. A board gives out little information: This appears to be originally a Vishnu temple as the Shikhara of the temple has images of Vishnu on three sides though the Garbhagriha of this temple has a Linga installed in it. The Rangamantapa has the image of Bramha on its inner ceiling. The Mantapa has a Saptamatrika panel.

A stone structure behind the temple catches my attention. Rough-cut stone slabs form a shelter.. this is a dolmen. A similar dolmen existed in the village of Motibennur, near Ranebennur.

Two more temples. Work in progress to make these historical monuments tourist friendly.

As historians say; Aihole is the cradle of temple architecture. Yes, these temples in various designs in one place can be compared for aesthetics and engineering. Designers and builders can compare and create better designs. Aihole indeed was a laboratory of temple design!

To see the list of monuments at Aihole read What to see in Aihole.

Galaganatha Temple Complex Coordinates: 16°0'35"N 75°52'44"E


ravisghosh said...

Very very interesting blog.


I visited Aihole in the year 2015,but not visited those temples due to lack of my knowledge about Aihole and also due to cheating of the Autorickshaw driver with me.In the coming year I am again going to Aihole for thorough visit and definitely I will observe them minutely.Many thanks for your clear and informative writing.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you Ravi and Kisor.