northern style, it also reveals attempts to combine northern and southern
features in one structure.
The Virupaksha temple was built by one of the queens of Vikramaditya II.
Workmen brought from Kanchi were employed in its construction. Hence
it is a direct imitation of the Kailasanatha temple which had come into
existence in Kanchi some decades earlier.
The Sangamesvara temple, which was built some years before the above
one, is more or less in the same style.
BADAMI CAVE TEMPLES
They are a set of four temples carved out of soft sandstone. They belong to
the early Chalukya Period. Of the four caves, three are dedicated to Hindu
Gods, and the fourth is a Jain temple. These temples are an early example
of the Chalukya style of architecture. It was during the early Chalukyan
period that temple architectural styles were evolved. All these temples
were carved out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. They all share the
same plan – a veranda with columns and brackets leading to a main hall,
the pillared maha mandapa which in turn leads to the small sanctum which
houses the sculpture.
A visit to Aihole starts with the Durga temple. The temple built between
the 7th-8th centuries by the Chalukyas, ironically is not dedicated to
Goddess Durga. It takes the name after “Durg” or fortress which may have
referred to the proximity of the fort that was around. Built in a fusion of
Dravidian and Nagara styles of architecture, the temple’s apsidal design is
also referred to as “Gajaprastha” referring to the shape of an elephant’s
One of the oldest temples in Aihole, Lad Khan Temple, built by the
Chalukyan kings probably took its name after a pious Muslim who stayed
here. It is one of the earliest Chalukyan temple and is dedicated to Shiva.
Initially it was a hall and it later became a temple dedicated to Surya and
then a Shivalaya.