August 31, 2013
Mallikarjuna group of temples is situated right besides Aihole hillock. In fact this is one of the first temple groups which comes into sight as you pass through Aihole village towards Durga temple complex. A small board at the entrance gives out some basic info about these temples:
This complex has five shrines. The Mallikarjuna, perhaps a creation of the VIII century is standing on a pedestal with a Mukhamantapa, Rangamantapa and a sanctum. Mantapa pillars have fine sculptures: A female dancer with two female instrument players, seated Narasimha, erotic couple Padmanidhi, etc. The temple has a phamsana Shikhara. It resembles the Mallikarjuna temple at Pattadakal. A row of fine guese here. Shrine no.3 has an incomplete phamsana Shikhara. The fourth shrine is called Karegudi (black Pagoda) and its Mantapa has 16 pillars, ten of them are Kalyan Chalukya style. The temple is asigned to the X century. Another shrine is Bilegudi (white Pagoda) which has no image in the sanctum, but the Mantapa's ceiling has a fine lotus in relief.
The sight as you enter the complex. The stepped tapering Shikhara of Mallikarjuna temple is iconic.