By Swami Harshananda
Aihole, a village situated on the bank of river Malaprabhā in the Bijapur district of Karnataka State. It is famous for the large number of stone temples built in and around this village (many of which are now in ruins). They belong to the period 500-650 A.D. and were built by the Cālukyas of Bādāmi (500-757 A.D.).
There are reasons to believe that human settlements existed here even in the 7th century B. C. By 700 A.D., it had grown into a big city, famous not only for trade and commerce but also for the settlements of learned brāhmaṇas. The old temples, about 125 in number, have been divided into 22 groups depending upon their special features.
Among these, the Durgā temple, the Lāḍkhān temple, the Huccimalliguḍi and the Meguti temple are more famous and have provided a lot of information regarding the history of the development of architecture. There is a temple dedicated to Brahmā too. Regular worship is only performed in the Rāmaliṅga temple.
The village has a fort and also three cave temples. A number of inscriptions belonging to different periods (700-1200 A.D.) have been recovered from the various sites of this village.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore