Durga Temple / Fort Temple
At a distance of 100 m from Aihole Bus Stand, Durga Temple, also known as Fort Temple, is an ancient Hindu shrine situated at Aihole, Karnataka. It is one of the most famous places to visit in Aihole with striking architecture and wonderful carvings.
Dedicated to the goddess Durga, the Durga Temple is located inside the main enclosed complex of Aihole monuments. The name of the temple is originated from a fortification (durgam) that existed around the temple earlier. It is one of the main places to visit as part of Aihole tour packages.
Build between the 7th and 8th centuries by Chalukyas, the temple plan in U shape resembles that of Buddhist Chaitya halls. The temple has a mukha-mandapa, a sabha-mandapa, and an inner sanctum with Shiva linga. The unique part of the temple is the pillared corridor around the temple that allows pilgrims to take pradakshinas around the temple. This style of architecture is called Gajaprastha (back of an elephant). The temple tower is built in Nagara style, while the dome on the tower is missing.
The Mukha-mandapa and the corridor have extensive carvings. Every pillar in the Mukha-mandapa has extensive relief work of couples in different postures. The ceiling has an image of a circular Nagaraja, while another image is that of a lotus with 18 fishes. Important images in the temple are that of Mahishasura Mardini, Lord Shiva, and Varaha. The rear side of the temple has a wonderful carving of Ardhanareeswara. The inner walls of the verandah have beautiful artwork. The lattice windows that provide ventilation to the sabha-mandapa are quite attractive.
There is a large wonderfully built gateway towards the southern side of the temple, which is believed to be the main entrance to the temple when it was fortified.
Complex Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM
Entrance: Rs. 5for Person, Rs. 25 for Camera