Dharmachakra carved in a jālandhara
The image shows one of the jālandharas (perforated stone windows) installed in the wall surrounding the sabhamantapa and garbhagriha of the Durga Temple at Aihole in Karnataka, India. As you can see, it was cut with a perfect curvature to fit the semi-circular shape of the wall around the garbhagriha (inner sanctum).
Carved into the jālandhara is a wheel, known as the Dharmachakra, a sacred symbol shared by the religions that originated in India, i.e., Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. As you can see, this wheel has two rings, a hub carved with a lotus flower, and eight spokes radiating outwards. The rings and spokes are ornate with motifs of flowers and vegetation.
The jālandhara is a unique element of the Dravida-style architecture and is a common feature in many Chalukya and Hoysala temples. The main purpose of the jālandharas is to provide ventilation and light into the interior. They also improve the aesthetics when the perforations form beautiful patterns.
The jālandhara shown in the image is on the apse part of the inside wall on the southwest side of the pradakshina patha (clockwise circumambulation path).
Here is the list of the jālandharas installed in the clockwise direction:
South side Corridor
1. Southeast – Jālandhara carved with the swastika and lotus flower patterns
2. South – Jālandhara with rhombus perforations
3. Southwest – Jālandhara carved with a Dharmachakra(8 spokes) – Current image
North side Corridor
4. Northwest – Jālandhara carved with a Dharmachakra (12 spokes)
5. Northeast – Jālandhara with square perforations
– Durga Temple at Aihole
– Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
– Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
– Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
– Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
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