1. Durga Temple Aihole
Aihole is considered to be the ‘cradle’ of temples in the state of Karnataka. The Durga temple located here is one part of this. This ancient structure is of the 7th – 8th century. This was during the Chalukyan rule in South India.
Similar to the other dynasties, this dynasty also built a number of temples. The Durga is one beautiful and interesting part of this.
This temple has pillars that lead up to the sanctum with a corridor in the circumference. This structure can be termed as ‘divine’ and ‘unique’.
The architecture is considered the soul of the temple due to its grandeur. The design of this temple is significant in every carving. Most tourists in Aihole visit this temple due to the authenticity of the construction.
Parts of this mighty temple have been in ruins for a long time, and, at present there is no deity on the sanctorum. At the same time, the vibes are spiritual due to the brilliance of the architecture.
Upper Shivalaya Badami
The Upper Shivalaya is situated on the Badami Northern Hills. This is one example of an architectural-style termed ‘rock-cut’. This was at the time of the ancient Chalukyan empire.
This structure offers a view of the Badami town along with a view of the Agastya Lake. This was built in the 7th century. Double fortification walls, large granary, underground chamber and different architectural marvels are present across the grand boulder area.
You can see the Malegitti Shivalaya and Lower Shivalaya from here.
This Upper Shivalaya is a rectangular sanctuary that is created by the temple’s outer walls. On all three sides you have passageways. The ornate designs on the walls on the south face depict different episodes from the Ramayana. The designs on the west face depict the birth and also the childhood of Lord Krishna. There are plastered walls on the square tower.
This temple is located on the top of a hill and thus, there is quite a bit of climbing to be done.
3. Lower Shivalaya Badami
The Lower Shivalaya Temple was built by the Chalukyan dynasty in the 7th century. This is one part of the temple series across the Badami hills on the northern side. This structure is cut intricately and is also the ‘best’ surviving ancient temple. The Dravida style used in this temple is definitely magnificent.
Some of the original construction is taken away by war and also time. The remnants are preserved in a beautiful manner. Tourists are attracted to the building even at present.
This Lower Shivalaya is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple comprise a hall, a porch and a sanctuary of double-walls. At present only the inner sanctuary has survived.
The sanctuary’s door frame is carved with creepers and door guardians with short-staff. Inside you find a pedestal that is shaped like a lotus. It has been speculated that this pedestal holds an image that is Brahamanical.
After the first storey you have an octagonal dome and neck. This has a crowning tupa on the top. The four corners have four shrines reflecting the stucco work of the Vijayanagara rule.
This temple is closed on Fridays. On other days this is open from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening.
4. Mallikarjuna Temple Badami
The Mallikarjuna temple lies within the cluster of the Bhootnath temple by the Agastya Lake in Badami.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has small shrines around it. This temple was constructed in a plan that is shaped like a star in the 11th century. The temple was influenced by the Chalukyan architecture. Most of the historical buildings in this town are influenced by this architecture.
These temples have tiered pyramids forming a great part of their structures. This is the Phamsana style. It is assumed that these were constructed during the Kalyani Chlukyas and Rashtrakutas era. The walls on the outer side are smooth rock surfaces that are uncarved. The inner sanctum tower is built in the style of Rashtrakuta. There is a pillared hall or mandapa in the main shrine. This is followed by a middle mandapa and an inner sanctum. The pillars and the inner walls are smooth with angled eaves on the roofs of the walls. There is a superstructure that is shaped like a pyramid on top of the shrines. These are made of horizontal tiers. You can enjoy the clear blue lake outside the cluster of the temples.
5. Mahakuta Temple Badami
The Mahakuta temples are situated in a small village, Mahakuta, on the outskirts of the Badami. This group of temples is a delight for all those who are passionate about architecture. The architectures mirrors the construction that is ‘rock-cut’ in the time of the Chalukyas. These were built in the 7th century and are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The largest of all these temples is the Mahakuteshwar temple. These temples are known to combine the architectural elements of ancient times of the Nagara and the Dravidian times.
The temples of the Dravidian style have a tower that is tiered over the shrine. This is capped with a structure shaped like a dome. The adjacent temples of the Nagara style make use of a curvilinear tower over the shrine. This was built on a plan that is square and capped by a ribbed stone. There is a large tank within the complex. This is fed by the mountain spring. This is named the Papavinasha Tirtha or the Vishnu Pushkarni . The belief is that a dip in this spring can wash away all your sins.
There is a small shrine and a Shivalinga in the center of these tank houses. This is named the Panchamukha Linga. There is a carving of one face in each of the directions and one on the top.
There are two inscriptions of the 7th century found in this temple. This makes it all the more significant to those following history and architecture. The inscription on the Mahakuta Pillar records all the achievements along with the military expeditions of the Chalukyas.
The inscription on the porch is from Vinapoti, detailing the rubies and silver offerings made to the Lord Shiva.
The temples have walls with carvings of different religious figures.
This place is a few kilometers from Badami.
6. Banashankari Temple Badami
Banashankari Temple is known as Bnashankari Amma temple. This is located near Badami in Karnataka at Cholachagudd. This temple is considered to be the most famous shrine in this state.
There are several beliefs and stories revolving around the construction, culture and history of this temple. The person worshipping ‘Rahukala’ in this temple is a really interesting fact as this is inauspicious according to the culture. People pray to Rahukala to let go of poverty, miseries and inauspiciousness.
This Banashankari temple has been constructed and renovated in the architectural style of the Nagara and Dravidian. It has managed to maintain unity in the cultural and religious festival of Banashankari Jatre in January. This is the time the people around and from Karnataka visit this temple to show devotion. There is a fair and cultural program. The temple complex has a pond, Haridra Tirtha. This has a lamp over a structure of 3-stories. This is considered an architectural marvel.
This temple symbolizes bonding of people of the different communities.
7. Kedereshwara Temple Halebidu
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is depicted in the Shivalinga form of Krishnashila. The architecture followed is the Chalukya style. This temple was built in 1319 AD. Sculptured friezes depicting the Ramayana, Bhagvad Gita and also the Mahabharata are featured in the basement of this temple.
A Hoysala king, Veer Ballala II and his queen, Ketaladevi built this Kedereshwara Temple. The architecture is typical Hoysala style in soapstone. This also has intricate carvings, sculptures depicting the legends of Lord Vishnu and Shiva and relief work.
Countless tourists flock to this temple every year to enjoy the glorious architecture style.
8. Hoysaleswara Temple Halebidu
Hoysaleswara temple, also known as the Halebid Temple, is a Hindu Temple of the 12th century. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located in the town of Halebid in Karnataka, in the west of the lake Dwarasamudra. This temple of the Hoysola Empire is one of the most important monuments. This is in South India and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Shilpkar Kedoraja has designed and decorated this temple. The walls are adorned with the different stories of the different Gods. You can also find stories of the brave Hoysala soldiers. These are in the form of engravings on the walls.
This beautiful temple gets its name from the ruler, King Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara, of the Hoysala dynasty. This ruler also sponsored the construction. The construction of this temple started in 1121 CE and finished in 1160 CE. This temple has two shrines, one of which is dedicated to Shantalaweswara and the other to Hoysaleswara.
There is also an image of 7ft that depicts the Sun God (Lord Surya) and A huge sculpture of Nandi (attendant of Shiva).
At present the architecture and the art work is damaged. This temple is considered to be a wonder of the world. This is also listed in the world heritage sites by the UNESCO.
9. Huchappayya Gudi Temple Aihole
Huchappayya gudi Temple was carved in the 8th century, of a single rock. This is a historical shrine in Aihole. This was an amazing Shiva temple and is considered as a tourist spot at present times.
This temple is located on the way to Malapranha River. The ceiling is carved with an image of Nataraja and the walls are adorned with various intricate carvings.
Carved with a single monolith, this temple speaks of the skill of the masons of Chalukya. Dedicated to the Nataraja form of Lord Shiva, you find various depictions in the interiors.
You can visit the temple any time of the year except in summer.
10. Bhutanatha Temple Badami
The Bhutanatha temples are between the 7t century and the 12th century. This is to the east of the Agsthya Lake located in Badami. On the east side of this lake you find the Bhutanatha Temple and to the North-east side you have the Mallikarjuna Temple.
These temples are built of the local sandstone and are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The architecture of these temples is similar to the temples in South India. These temples glitter in the sun due to the sandstone used.
The Chalukyas, in the 7th century, built the inner shrine. Jain figures and different avatars of Lord Vishnu are carved at the back of the temple.
11. Chola Temples
Bangalore was ruled by the Chola dynasty for more than a century. The influence of this dynasty is seen in the different temples present here. These temples are significant due to their history. These were ruled by some very important rulers. It is due to this significance that the monuments are studied at present times.
The Madiwala Someshwara temple, the Domlur Chokkanathaswamy, the Halasuru Someshwara temple and also the Sri Ananda Lingeshwara temple are few of these historically important temples. These temples date back to 1500 years and boast of the Chola Empire.
Those who are interested in history need to pay a visit to this temple when on a tour in South India. The different skills and the architecture mentioned in history are present here. You need to be aware that prior permission is a requirement. This is open from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00.
12. Melukote Temples
Melukote is a sacred place in Karnataka. This is situated in the distict of Pandavpur taluk, in Mandya. This is built on Yadugiri, rocky hills that overlook the valley of Cauvery.
Melukote is where you find the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple. Melukote is 133 kms from Bangalore and only 51km from Mysore. Melukote is also home to the Sanskrit Research Academy. This place has collected thousands of Sanskrit and Vedic manuscripts.
Sri Ramanujaacharya, the Srivaishnava saint, stayed here in Malukote for 12 years. This has, since then, become an important center for the Srivaishnava sect.
The temple here is marked by a Gopuram and you find pilgrims ascending 500 steps to reach the top of the hill. You have the option of driving up to the parking pace and then climbing only 170 steps.
The Cheluvanarayana Swamy teple here is more than 1000 years old.
You can also plan a trip to the Wild Life Sanctuary located in the district of Mandya.