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Architectural Charm of the Chalukyan Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka

Architectural Charm of the Chalukyan Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka

Durga temple is the biggest and arguably the most attractive temple at Aihole. Though it is called Durga Temple, it has nothing to do with goddess Durga or Durgi. The name of the temple may have derived from the word ‘durga’ meaning fort. As one enters Aihole from the north, this temple is found near the fort and people should have named it Durga (fort) temple.

Durga Fort Temple in Aihole - Chalukyan Architecture The most important charm of this temple for which it is celebrated is the apsidal character of the posterior part of this architecture. Generally apsidal or gajapristha form is found in Buddhist monuments. Nevertheless, this temple being non-Buddhist and yet having an apsidal posterior part is an mystery, which has not been explained satisfactorily by art historians. Conceivably one of the architects experimented with this type of plan in the Hindu temple and it did not become popular and for this reason given up. There is a comparable apsidal temple at Mahakuta, very close to Aihole which was also an primitive Chalukyan art center.

The temple consists of an apsidal garbhagriha, sabhamandapa, a mandapa and a mukhamandapa in east-west axis and the temple opens to the east. The temple has a base of six different moldings. The temple is entered through two flights of steps to the south and north of the mandapa. On the basement are square pillars all the way through the construction including the apsidal garbhagriha.

Hindu Temples Architecture during Chalukyas - Durga Temple, Aihole

The rows of pillars contains two pradakshinapathas, which is an exceptional architectural feature. The longish sabhamandapa has been divided into three portions by its pillars. The large number of pillars in this temple have been utilized by the artists to carve a large number puranic stories and self-supporting sculptures. These sculptures are of high order and add refinement and charisma to this temple.

Shiva Dancing Statue Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka On the pillars of the mukhamandapa are found passionate couples in various suggestive poses. On another pillar is found Shiva dancing on apasmara. The inner wall of the mukhamandapa has Ramayana panel, Ardhanarisvara and Ugranarasimha killing Hiranyakashipu. The front entrance of the mandapa is well carved with dvarapalas, Yamuna and Ganga, and further sculptures.

Unfortunately, there are no inscriptions to date this temple. Derived from stylistic evidence, various dates have been assigned to this temple. While many scholars consider 600 C.E. as the date of this temple, some others assign it to seventh century C.E.

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The Magnificent Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery Building in Mysore

The Magnificent Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery Building in Mysore

As the name itself signifies, the Jaganmohan Palace is an elegant and majestic building in Mysore. Actually it is at a walking distance from the Mysore palace to the west of it. It was originally built during the rule of Krishnaraja Wadeyar III sometime in 1860. When there was an accidental fire in the Mysore palace, this was used as a palace and all important functions took place here. The marriage of the then Yuvaraja was celebrated in this palace.

Glow of Hope by Sawlaram Haldankar in Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysore This palace also served as the durbar hall until the completion of the new pavilion in 1910. Another important function that took place here was the installation of His Highness the Maharaja in 1902 which was graced by Lord Curzon, the Governor General and Viceroy of India.

Later in 1900, a spacious and ornamental pavilion was added to the then existing palace. It was specially designed for the invitees to witness marriages, royal installations, and birthday celebrations. The long hall has two balconies on both sides so that the royal women could witness the functions.

Subsequently the Representative Assembly meetings took place here. Even Mysore university convocations were held here for some time.

Raja Ravi Varma Paintings in Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysore

Today this palace has been made into an art gallery. The three-story structure behind the main hall is a fine repository of paintings, sculptures, musical instruments and other artefacts connected with Mysore royal family. The excellent paintings include those made by Raja Ravivarma, Ramavarma, and some European artists and Roerich.

Particularly interesting are the paintings giving the genealogy of Mysore kings and other matters of interest. The front facade of this palace is majestic with stucco ornamentation and broad doors. Minarets and domes at the four corners are highly pleasing.

Jaganmohan Art Gallery The central part has a vimana like tower with minarets and kalasha. The miniature sikharas on either side have chaitya like niches and the same is found at the central dome. Thus, it looks very elegant. It has a vast enclosure with a fine garden and huge shady trees. Hundreds of tourists visit this palace daily to get a glimpse of the Mysore royalty through paintings and other artefacts in the rare ambiance of a contemporary palace for which the Maharajas were famous universally.

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The Unique Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Gaudara Gudi near to the Ladkhan temple at Aihole is another interesting monument of Karnataka architecture. It is not known as to why it is called by that name (Gauda = Village headman).

A few years ago, the Archaeological Survey of India conducted excavations here and this has shown that Gaudara Gudi is former than the Ladkhan temple. As the precise date of the Ladkhan temple is also not known, the exact date of Gaudara Gudi cannot be fixed. On stylistic grounds, it has been surmised that this temple should have been built in the early part of the seventh century CE.

Gaudara Gudi is a fascinating and irreplaceable structure. It has a basement of four and half feet in height with thick moldings. This temple consists of a garbhagriha, a pradakshinapatha and a mandapa. Sixteen square shaped pillars with abacus hold the roof. The roof is in two tiers one above the other and is made of sloping stones. The lower eave-like molding has some decorations. At the western side of the roof are found low sikhara-like part, which is made of two tiers, the outer edges of which have decorative moldings.

Description of Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

The temple has a flight of steps in the middle of the mandapa. The columned mandapa has on its base a series of pumakumbhas. Behind them are kakshasanas. The pillars are heavy and thick. The beams inside are well carved and have bass-relief sculptures of floral patterns, animals, and human beings. Some of them have chaitya windows.

The garbhagriha is small and it has very beautiful carvings on its doorway. Its outer walls have three koshthas that once perhaps contained three sculptures which are now missing. The side and upper jambs of this doorway were intricately carved with floral design. The lintel has in the middle a flying Garuda in human form. He is flanked on either side by pilasters. What is more important is the sculpture of Lakshmi above the garuda. The ornamented and seated Lakshmi holds lotus flowers in her two hands. On both sides are elephants performing abhisheka to her.

Mandapa of Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Below in the pond are two more elephants. Such Lakshmi motifs are found in Badami also. Founded on this sculpture of Lakshmi, it is supposed that this temple was dedicated to Bhagavati or Lakshmi. So therefore, this may be considered as one of the earliest temples of Lakshmi in Karnataka. From all these characters, this temple occupies an important place at Aihole.

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Architectural Highlights of the Lotus Mahal in Hampi, Vijayanagara Empire

Architectural Highlights of the Lotus Mahal in Hampi, Vijayanagara Empire

Lotus Mahal (or Kamala Mahal) is perhaps the most elegant stucco pavilion at Hampi, capital of the famous Vijayanagara Empire of South India. Additionally, it is an excellent example of a well-balanced mishmash of Indian and Islamic (or Sarcenic) architectural style.

Ground Floor of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

Indian and Islamic (or Sarcenic) Architectural Style of Lotus Mahal, Hampi The structure of the Lotus Mahal is built of brick and mortar with smooth and glossy plaster finishing. Yet, the platform or the basement of the building is built of stone. It has indented outlines with sharp corners, with excellently bedecked moldings at the bottom on all the sides. The structure has two stories.

The ground floor is not closed in any direction. It has cusped arches with fine decorations over which exists a sloping eave, surrounding the building. The ground area has a pavilion or a spectator section, which was used by the royals for pastime and for congregation.

The ground floor is raised on a high and ornamental stone basement with doubly recessed angles, which makes the plan of the building somewhat different, and many art historians have marveled at this architectural feature.

First Floor of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

There is a staircase to go to the first floor. The first floor is a closed pavilion with many rectangular windows with separate arches at the top. Each of these windows had wooden shutters, which is not very a common feature. Possibly the royal women used this.

The upper floor also has a sloping eave running around the building. The graceful roof contains nine superstructures, which bear a resemblance to closely the sikharas of Hindu temples.

Well-Designed and Toned Architectural Features of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

The interior of the upper storey consists of an indented hall with four pillars in the centre with niches. The interior walls consist of finely carved floral designs of a high order. While the pillars and the arches exhibit Islamic architectural characters, the base, the roof the superstructures, cornices and stucco ornaments are Hindu in character.

Well-Designed and Toned Architectural Features

This harmonious architectural combination of features has made the Lotus Mahal distinctive at Hampi. Actually, it is an appealing and a long-awaited combination of two different styles of architecture during the Vijayanagara period.

This elegant building was perhaps used entirely by the royalty as a pleasure pavilion with open space at the ground level and some amount of privacy at the first floor. Thus, its name Lotus Mahal or Kamala Mahal is entirely appropriate to this elegant structure.

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The Distinctive Chalukyan Architecture Featured in the Ladkhan Temple of Aihole

Chalukyan Architecture Featured in the Ladkhan Temple of Aihole

Ladkhan temple is a significant temple at Aihole because of the method of its construction which marks an important stage in the evolution of the Chalukyan style of architecture.

The temple is called Ladkhan Temple because a gentleman named Ladkhan lived in the temple and consequently the local populace began to call it so. If truth be told, early India scholars like Percy Brown and others considered this temple to be the earliest in Aihole and assigned a date 450 CE. On the contrary, modern researches have revealed that it is not that early and scholars designate it to seventh century CE.

Numerous sculptures of amorous couples in Ladkhan Temple of Aihole It has a distinctive plan and does not give the mark of a temple at all in the first instance. In reality, it looks like a mandapa with rows of pillars. The temple consists of a small garbhagriha attached to the rear wall of a square sabhamandapa and a rectangular mukhamandapa/em>. Hence, there is no pradakshinapatha. The interior of the sabhamandapa is divided into two parallel enclosures with the help of a row of pillars.

The garbhagriha has a Sivalinga and therefore it might have been a Siva temple initially. The rectangular mandapa in the front is smaller in size and provides an entrance. As there is a good image of Surya, some scholars consider it as a temple devoted to Sun. The garbhagriha entryway has Garuda in human form on the doorjamb.

The temple stands on a cellar with moldings and the uppermost molding is very thick, over which rises the wall of the temple. A similar molding is found at the roof level. But what is more interesting is the roof itself. The posterior portion has a square in two tiers with a slight slope in all the four directions. On them are placed stone rafters in reproduction of wooden roof of the earlier buildings. Similar is the roof of the front mandapa, which is rectangular. On the roof of the sabhamandapa is an upper garbhagriha opening to the east with pillars and pilasters without any sikhara. These architectural features have made this temple unique.

Ladkhan Temple - Earliest Temple in Aihole

There are a large number of sculptures on the pillars and the koshthas. Numerous sculptures of amorous couples and the jalandhras are very eye-catching. The roof of the mandapa has a naga holding a lotus. The upper garbhagriha wall has niches in which are found sculptures of Vishnu, Surya, and Siva. Bearing in mind all the architectural features the Ladkhan temple is considered to represent an important stage in the development of early Chalukyan art.

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Beauty and Majesty of the Adil Shahi Architecture of the Jumma Masjid in Bijapur

Beauty and Majesty of the Adil Shahi Architecture of the Jumma Masjid in Bijapur

Jumma Masjid at Bijapur has the characteristic of expressing the early characters of the Adil Shahi architecture. In fact, some features of the earlier Bahamani style can also be seen in this monument. Thus it is a good example for the beginning of the Adil Shahi style which culminated in other monuments as it Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza.

The Jumma Masjid mosque was built by Ali Adil Shah I in about 1570 AD. It is the largest and most beautiful mosque in Bijapur with series of arches. In fact, the arches are the most important character of this building. It seems it was never completed because it still lacks two minars, which were intended to flank the two sides of the eastern entrance. Though unfinished in this respect, it presents an elegant look.

The mosque is a huge structure with a rectangle of 450 feet long and 225 feet wide. The walls of this building offer a vast area of simple and plain masonry. However, the monotony of the simplicity is relieved by exterior decorations.

The uniqueness of this mosque is the construction of two rows of arches one above the other. The builder has selected the lower rows for ornamentation. The mosque contains a courtyard which is a square of 155 feet each side. This has a row of seven arches on each side and over them projects a wide and deep cornice on brackets.

Two rows of arches in Jumma Masjid of Bijapur The interior of the sanctuary is equally elegant and impressive. It consists of a large quadrangle, which measures 208 feet in length and 107 feet in width. This is divided into five aisles with the help of arches.

The innermost part is a square nave, each side measuring 76 ft. It has twelve arches, three on each side. These arches intersect above and produce an octagonal cornice that supports the base of the dome. The shape of the dome is pleasing with small isles and small arches all round and a decorated parapet above. Thus, it provides a decorative base for the dome. The mihrab consists of elaborate mural design in relief with bright colors.

Ali Adil Shah I on his return from his victorious and memorable expedition against Ramaraya of Vijayanagara and his treasury overflowing with spoils of war, naturally thought of creating a place of worship (mosque).

The Sultan summoned architects and artisans from Persia and elsewhere and hence the structure has become a building of great elegance, beauty, and majesty.

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Architectural Highlights of the Iconic Krishna Temple in Hampi

Architectural Highlights of the Iconic Krishna Temple in Hampi

Krishnadevaraya, the most celebrated king of the Vijayanagar dynasty, invaded Udayagiri kingdom in modern-day Orissa in 1513 A.D., and conquered the Gajapati ruler there and brought an image of Lord Krishna as war trophy. He built a temple to house this image at Hampi and it is famous as Krishna Temple.

Krishnadevaraya even minted gold coins with a portrait of Balakrishna to celebrate this remarkable event. The entire temple is built in the centre of an enclosure, which measures 88 and 60 meters in length and breadth respectively. The entire structure is surrounded by a tall prakara wall, which opens to the east, north, and south.

Krishna Temple is built of granite and consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, an ardhamandapa, a sabhamandapa and a mahamandapa. All these are enclosed within a high prakara wall with a mahadvara, which has a gopura built of brick and mortar. The gopura is in ruins but it contains some good stucco figures associated with Krishna.

Central pillars with relief sculptures at Krishna Temple, Hampi The square garbhagriha is bare now, as the original image of Krishna has been removed. It is made out of greenish black granite showing Krishna as a child seated on a pedestal. The front entrance is well decorated with Vaishnava dvarapalas on either side and Gajalakshmi on the lintel. The sabhamandapa has four central pillars with relief sculptures of Garuda, Hanuman, Krishna as Kalingamardana, etc.

The mukhamandapa is an graceful structure with 32 pillars with entrances at north, south, and east. These tall and lean pillars have fine sculptures of Vaishnava deities. There is a garuda mandapa of Dravidian type and a dipastambha (lamp pillar) in its front. At the four corners of this temple once stood small shrines intended for subsidiary Gods. However, they are derelict now. The composite pillars and pillars with horses and yalis add exquisiteness to the temple.

Mahadvara and Huge Gateways of the Krishna Temple, Hampi This temple is famous for the huge gateways at north, south, and east. The eastern gateway or the mahadvara is enormous and graceful and perhaps one of the best specimens of that type in Hampi. Thus, Krishna temple was one of the most popular temples at Hampi built by the most famous king Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire.

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The Grandeur of the Elephant Stables at Hampi, Capital of the Mighty Vijayanagara Empire

The Grandeur of the Elephant Stables at Hampi, Capital of the Mighty Vijayanagara Empire

The elephant stables are an imposing structure in an immense open space at Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. True to its identity, every single fragment of the structure is colossal, like the Jumbo elephant itself.

Like many of the buildings in Hampi, the elephant stables show evidence of Indo-Islamic motifs while cut plaster decorations and arches are in the Deccani Islamic style.

At the side of the Lotus Mahal is a row of eight high domes of the elephant stables that shows early Indo-Islamic architectural influences, and gives you an idea of the importance accorded both to ceremonial as well as battle elephants.

Impressive Domes of the Hampi Elephant Stables

Impressive Domes of the Hampi Elephant Stables

Essentially, the elephant stables structure is an oblong construction running to 85 meters from south to north and its depth is 9 meters. There are eleven compartments or rooms, five on each side with one in the center. All the cells are of identical measurement, each side measuring 6 meters. The middle cell has a stairway leading to the rooftop of the building, which has ten domes of different shapes; the middle cell has a double storied pillared pavilion, which is partially destroyed. The impressive domes display Islamic architectural types and add a distinguished and colossal look to the structure. There is a variation in these domes. Some are rounded; some have twelve angles, while yet others have sixty-two flutings.

The cells have tall arched openings to the west whereas there are small accesses at the east. Some of these cells are interconnected also. The cells have thick and strong walls. At the roof level, wood was implanted which perhaps contained iron rings or hooks so that the elephants could be shackled. The arched entrances and flat domes are of Bahamani style and it is hard to explain why the Vijayanagara kings used Islamic architectural features for this building.

Even though the native belief connects this building with elephants, some scholars question its exact suggestion. But historical contexts do not subsist in themselves; they must be defined, and in that sense constructed, by the historian afore the explanatory work of engendering explanation, and of interpreting the past. Vijayanagara army had several elephants but this building is meant to accommodate only eleven elephants. Perhaps these were imperial elephants. King Deva Raya II was a great lover of elephants. It is possible that these stables were built during his period.

Elephant Stables and Vijayanagara King Devaraya II

Elephant Stables and Vijayanagara King Deva Raya II

Vijayanagara empire’s historians have long grappled with the undertaking of construing chronicles that, even though written in the past tense, are nevertheless demanding, if not unfeasible to resolve with each other or indeed, the modern historical sense of there having been a singular past. Reigned over by four consecutive dynasties of kings, the Vijayanagara institution transformed itself from a small regional kingdom to the foremost political and military power in southern India within the period of about two hundred years. The power and grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire reached during the sovereignty of Deva Raya II (1422–46) reached its pinnacle under the able and powerful tenure of Krishnadeva Raya (1505–29). There was a resurgence of art and architecture on an unprecedented scale during his reign. Vijayanagara was undoubtedly a name to conjure within the lands south of the mighty Tungabhadra river.

Many contemporaneous foreign essayists of the period have given eloquent testament to the elephants of the Vijayanagara period. Abdul Razzak (the prominent Persian ambassador who visited in 1443 and wrote about the extraordinary wealth of Vijayanagara) states that Deva Raya II had more than one thousand elephants grand as hills and colossal as demons. Deva Raya II took on many designations associated with elephants and even circulated gold coins with elephant on the obverse.

From all these specifics, it can be construed that elephants played a major role during the Vijayanagara period not only in military conflicts but also in festivals and religious pageants of royals in the same way as Dasara in Mysore. These stables signify the military might of the Vijayanagara Empire.

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Exquisite Architectural Temples and Heritage of Pattadakal, Karnataka

Chalukyan Architects Made Experiments with Various Styles of Architecture

Types of Temple Architecture in Pattadakal Pattadakal was a city bubbling with political and artistic activities throughout the time of the Western Chalukyas of Badami more than eleven centuries ago. Situated on the left bank of the river Malaprabha and contained by hillocks of red sandstone amidst scenic splendor, this location became sacrosanct and it was the sincere choice of the kings to carry out the numerous coronation (patta) ceremonies and hence it came to be called Pattadakal. It is also called Kisuvolalu and Sanskritised as Raktapura.

Group of Dravida and Nagara Temples Pattadakal

Along with Aihole and Badami, Pattadakal became a cradle of early Chalukyan temples. It is generally believed that the Chalukyan architects made experiments with various styles of architecture even before the silpashastras standardized them. Hence, scholars are fond of calling these places as workshops of architecture.

In point of fact, Pattadakal represents the final or culminating phase of the early Chalukyan style of architecture. There are no less than twelve worthy temples of the Chalukyan period at Pattadakal.

World Heritage Site -- Group of Temples, Pattadakal

Exquisite Temples and Get a Glimpse of Our Heritage Both Dravida and Nagara type of temples were built at Pattadakal during the reign of the early Chalukyan kings. Sangamesvara, Virupaksha, Mallikarjuna and Jaina temples belong to the Dravidian technique, whereas Galaganatha, Papanatha, Kasi Visvesvara, Kadasiddesvara and Jambulinga temples belong to Nagara or north Indian style.

From the sequential standpoint, the temple building- pursuit as known from the dated specimens started here from the beginning of the seventh century and sustained up until the middle of the ninth century CE.

Thus, three hundred years and more saw a splendid epoch in the evolution of temple architecture in Karnataka in general and Pattadakal in particular.

Early Chalukyan Temples in Pattadakal

Workshops of Temple Architecture in Pattadakal There were master architects like Revadi Ovajja, Anivarita Gunda, supported by sculptors like Changamma, Pullappan, Baladeva, et cetera. It also had the guidance of dance masters like Achalan and devadasis like Chalabbe. More than all, the early Chalukya kings, their queens like Lokamahadevi and Trailokyamahadevi and others, officials and ministers not only helped in building some of these Pattadakal temples but also gave generous grants of land and money for the fitting maintenance as well as the rituals in these temples.

It is but natural that hundreds of visitors both from India and abroad visit these exquisite temples and get a glimpse of our heritage. Hence, UNESCO has declared Pattadakal as a World Heritage site, a great honor indeed to Karnataka.

Silpashastra in Chalukyan Temples in Pattadakal

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Magnificent Architecture and Motifs of the Malegitti Shivalaya Temple, Badami, India

Malegitti Shivalaya Temple of Badami

Badami or Vatapi (in Sanskrit) was the capital of the early Chalukyas. Pulakeshi I, one of the early kings of this kingdom built a strong defense at Badami and made it his capital in the year 547 CE. From that time forwards, the later kings of this dynasty built rock-cut and structural temples here for about three hundred years and for this reason, Badami became a distinguished hub of Karnataka architecture and sculpture.

On the opposite side of the town, below and around the north fort, there are a number of structural temples. There are many temples at Badami of which Malegitti Shivalaya is remarkable from many points of view. Imaginably with the connection of a woman who was a garland-maker, this temple should have got that name.

Vishnu Relief at Malegitti Shivalaya of Badami

The very location of this temple is appealing. It is built on a ridge of the rugged hills, which have a view over the town of Badami. Malegitti Shivalaya is noteworthy from the evolution of the Chalukyan style of architecture.

Badami’s Malegitti Shivalaya represents a phase of Chalukyan art. It is a good example where the domical finial is octagonal and is supported by a series of small shrines. It is not a large temple but is a solid enormous construction palpably to withstand the ravages of time. This may not show predominantly sophisticated parts but it has grandeur of its own.

Chalukyan Architecture in Malegitti Shivalaya of Badami

The temple consists of three parts namely garbhagriha, sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa. The basement consists of mouldings one of which is thicker and has ganas carved on it. The wall of the temple consists of pilasters at regular intervals. Nevertheless, the centre of the sabhamandapa has a koshtha which adorns an image of Vishnu and on both sides are rectangular pierced windows. Over this runs a thick eave and above it are some more moldings. The tower over the garbhagriha is a archetypal Dravidian sikhara and by its small size looks graceful. The mukhamandapa has four pillars supporting a flat roof. The two dvarapalas fully decorated are artistically superior with fine expressions and alert poses.

Chalukyan Art in Malegitti Shivalaya of Badami

The southern wall has an image of Shiva holding a trident, and a serpent. In the interior of the sabhamandapa on the ceiling is an image of Vishnu on Garuda within a lotus medallion. The garbhagriha doorway is highly ornamental with trimmings of foliage, pilaster, floral designs with nagas on either side with mithuna sculptures. The lintel has Nataraja in miniature. Inside the garbhagriha is a linga.

Shiva Relief at Malegitti Shivalaya of Badami

An architect by name Aryaminchi Upadhyaya is the designer of this Malegitti Shivalaya as stated by an inscription. On stylistic justification, this temple is dated to the seventh century CE. The dire condition most other temples around Badami contrast with the reasonably finished Malegitti Shivalaya, which crowns on as secluded boulder beneath the western flank of the North fort, this temple also be dated to the first half of the 7th century and is of historical interest for its well-preserved carvings.

Magnificent Architecture and Motifs of the Malegitti Shivalaya Temple, Badami, India

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