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3.7 /5 32 votes


Best Time: Oct-Mar Read More

Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Nearest Airport: Goa Check Flights

"The Temple Complex of Karnataka"

Aihole Tourism

Home to about 125 Chalukyan temples and ancient monuments, Aihole is a historical site in Bagalkot, Karnataka. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is surrounded by sandstone hills and villages on the banks of the Malaprabha River. Formerly, the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty, excavations revealed that this site has over 100 Hindu and Jain temples dating back to the time of the Chalukyas. Today, Aihole is a prominent centre for temple architecture and intricate stonework.

Aihole, known initially as Ayyavole or Aryapura, played a significant role in Hindu mythology. Besides Hindu and Jain Temples, Aihole boasts of a rock-cut Buddhist monument dedicated to Lord Buddha. The towns of Pattadakkal and Badami are also located nearby and together; they form a vast region to witness the marvel and grandeur of Chalukyan architecture. A few historical places of the town include the Durga Temple, Lad Khan Temple, Ravanaphadi Cave Temples, Huchimalli Temple, Meganagudi group, Gowda Temple and the Huchappayyagudi Temple amongst numerous others.

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As to how Aihole was named has an exciting background. Legend has it that Lord Parashurama, after avenging the death of his father, Sage Jamadagni came to the river Malaprabha (flowing through the town) to wash his battle axe and blood stain hands. While doing so, the blood turned the colour of the river water to red. Seeing this horrifying sight, a woman screamed 'Ayyo Hole!’ in Kannada, which translates to 'Oh no Blood!’. Thus, this town got the name Aihole. However, this place is also called ‘Ayyavole’ and ‘Aryapura’.

Chalukyan Style of Architecture

Aihole is considered as 'The cradle of Hindu rock architecture'. Legend has it that more than 125 temples were built during Badami Chalukyas rule, between 5th and 8th centuries. These temples represent different architectural styles like that of Dravidian, Phamsana, Gajaprastha and Nagara. The exquisite sculpture from this period has a classical quality. Richly carved ceilings, isolated figures and flat roofs, are some of the standard features of the temples. The grandeur of the Chalukyan architecture is beyond excellence.


Chalukya Utsava
The Chalukya Utsava is a 3-day festival held every year. In addition to cultural activities such as singing, dancing, etc. this festival also houses several competitions and adventure activities. One of the main attractions of this grand event is the helicopter ride and hot air balloon ride (priced at INR 1,000 and INR 2,000 per person, respectively) for an aerial view of the ancient city.

Banashankari Dance Festival
The Banashankari Dance Festival is a month-long festival held from January to February each year. It involves the annual temple car (chariot) which is pulled from the temple gate to another sculpture called Padhkatte. Devotees from various places come to be a part of this event which is marked by religious as well as cultural celebrations, including prayers, dance and songs.

Virupaksha Temple Car Festival
Held in March/April as per local calendar, the Virupaksha Temple Car Festival is the annual temple car (chariot) festival. It involves a huge wooden chariot, marked by the auspicious presence of Gods and Goddess seated inside, which is pulled in a colorful procession attended by thousand of devotees. This festival symbolizes the annual wedding ritual of God's and Goddess.

Restaurants and Local Food in Aihole

The options for food and cuisines here are somewhat limited here. The handful of restaurants that you might here serve mostly vegetarian South-Indian food. Tourists could make arrangement for accommodation and food in Badami, which is the nearest town to Aihole and can be reached by road within 40 minutes. One might chance upon a few local delicacies such as Dosa, Bisi Bele Bath, Akki Roti, Jolada Roti, Idli, Vada, Sambhar, Mysore pak etc.
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Suggested Itinerary

Arrive at Aihole. Have breakfast and head straight to the Durga temple, which is the most remarkable temple of the place. Next, visit the Meguti Jain temple, which stands on a hillock. Explore other temples including Hucchimalli Temple, Gowda Temple, etc., all being located within 2 to 3 km radius. 

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Aihole houses more than 125 temples. Enjoy exquisite architecture of the temples.

What's Not So Great?

Very few decent hotels and eateries.

For Whom?

Ideal for people who wish to explore places with historical significance and architecture. A good place for family vacations and solo trips.

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How To Reach Aihole

The city does not have any airport and railway station. The nearest airports are in Hubli and Belgaum, while the nearest railhead is in Bagalkot. The city is well connected by roads, many buses plying on the route.

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Aihole Reviews

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Rohit Shroff 1 year ago
- Being a temple town, make sure you strictly observe the traditions and culture of each temple.
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