Aihole Durga Temple: A beautiful view from the west side

West side view of the Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka, India

West side view of the Durga Temple

West side view of the Durga Temple
With an unusual shape and structure, the Durga Temple stands out from the rest of temples in this area. Architecturally classified as the Gajaprastha style – a subclass under the Dravida style – the Durga Temple is curved at the back, similar to an apse of a Christian church. In Kannada, Gajaprastha means the backside of an elephant. The round rear-side of this temple does indeed resemble that.

Just like the majority of Hindu temples, this temple faces east with an unusual entrance. Instead of a single flight of steps facing front, it has two staircases facing sideways (one facing south and the other north) that join at the top. Mounted on the periphery of its elevated platform are the massive stone columns supporting the slightly slanted roof.

The staircases at the entrance lead to the mukhamantapa (porch), built with ornate pillars and intricately carved ceilings. At the center is a flight of steps that leads to the sabhamantapa (congregation hall) and garbhagriha (inner sanctum).

Surrounding them is a corridor used as the pradakshina patha (clockwise circumambulatory path), which starts from the left side of the mukhamantapa and ends on its right side. The outer edge of this corridor consists of stone columns that support the slightly slanted roof. Its inner side is a wall that covers the sabhamantapa and garbhagriha and has built-in niches and perforated stone windows.

Above the garbhagriha is a tower-like structure known as the shikhara.

Durga Temple Images
ExteriorFront view, Rear view, West side view
MukhamantapaExterior, Interior, Ornate pillar, Mithuna Shilpa, Vidyadhara couple, Romantic couple, Coiled Nagaraja, Matsya Chakra
InteriorDvarabandha, Sabhamantapa, Garbhagriha
Pradakshina PathaWest facing view, East facing view,
Devakoshtas Shiva with his vehicle Nandi, Narasimhavatara, Vishnu riding Garuda, Varahavatara, Durga as Mahishasuramardini, Harihara
JālandharasSwastika and lotus flower patterns, Rhombus-shaped perforations, Dharmachakra – 8 spokes, Dharmachakra – 12 spokes, Square perforations

Related Pages
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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