Durga temple, Aihole
|Date built||late 7th - early 8th century|
The temple was built between the 7th and the 8th century by the dynasty of the Chalukyas. The architecture of the temple is predominantly Dravida with Nagara style also is used in certain areas. The Durga Temple belongs to the Chalukyan period.
Even though the temple features a Durga sculpture, the origin of the name is not because of its dedication to Durga goddess, but because Durga means protector or a fortress. The temple formed part of a fortification probably of the Marathas.
The temple is dedicated to either Vishnu or Shiva as the representations of Vishnu are as numerous as those of Shiva. The most original feature of the temple is a peristyle delimiting an ambulatory around the temple itself and whose walls are covered with sculptures of different gods or goddesses. The nandi is found to moo sometimes. Two staircases provide access to the porch at the entrance of the temple itself. The sober and square pillars are decorated with characters around the porch and the entrance to the peristyle. The parapet is carved with niches and small animals. The porch gives access to rooms with pillars ('mukhamantapa' and "sabhamantapa") to get into the heart of the shrine (garba griha).
Plan of the temple
The plan of the temple is oblong and apsidal. It means that the corridor with pillars between the porch and the heart of the shrine encompasses the heart of shrine and allows worshipers to perform the parikrama (circumambulation ritual). This apse gives outward through openings between the pillars.
The shape of the temple, in Indian traditional architecture, is known as Gajaprasta which means the resemblance to the back of an elephant. The temple's unusual apsidal form is thought to imitate the earlier Buddhist chaitya halls, but recent studies suggest that apsidal designs in Indian architecture were a pan-Indian tradition, which was shared by various faiths from the 2nd century BCE.
- "Evolution of Temple Architecture – Aihole-Badami- Pattadakal". UNESCO. 2004. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Hardy, Adam (1995). Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation : the Karṇāṭa Drāviḍa Tradition, 7th to 13th Centuries. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. pp. 85, 297. ISBN 9788170173120. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Archeological survey of India. "Durga Temple, Aihole". Aracheological Survey of India. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Srivathsan, A (4 January 2008). "Hybrid styles of Aihole". The Hindu (newspaper). Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Ray, Himanshu Prabha (2004). The Apsidal Shrine in Early Hinduism: Origins, Cultic Affiliation, Patronage. pp. 343–359.
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