Day 2 – Aihole, Pattadakal, and Alamatti
It was announced earlier that on 26th Sep, there will be a Karnataka bandh and the rumor was that the Bandh would be severe in North Karnataka (i.e. the place where we were staying). We were highly skeptical about our current day’s plan. But, the authorities at Badami cave temples had assured us previous day that the monuments would be open from 6 AM to 6 PM as usual, which gave us a sense of relief. They also suggested us to reach and complete the visit as soon as possible because after 11 AM, they might stop the vehicles on road. Luckily, the owner of the hotel where we had dinner previous day told us that the hotel would be open from 6 AM to 9 AM. So, we decided to start our trip early in the morning.
Pattadakal Group of Monuments
- Opening hours of Pattadakal group of monuments – 6 AM to 6 PM
- Entrance fee at Pattadakal group of monuments – 10 Rs/person for Indians, 250 Rs for foreigners, 25 Rs for video camera
As planned, we checked out of our hotel at 6.30 AM, had breakfast at the same hotel where we had dinner previous day (Banashri Hotel) and started our second day’s visit.
Our first place to visit was Pattadakal which is around 22 km from Badami. Pattadakal group of monuments is one of the UNESCO World heritage sites in India. When I was planning for this trip, amongst all the places, I was attracted more to Pattadakal. The images of Pattadakal had mesmerized me and so, I was highly excited to visit this place.The road from Badami to Pattadakal is narrow and not so well maintained, but as you enter the gates of Pattadakal group of monuments, you will become captivated with the beauty in front of you. The heritage sight is maintained extremely well and the group of temples looks outstandingly wonderful as you walk towards them. In ancient times, Pattadakal was a site where Badami Chalukya kings were coronated and it has temples built by them during 7th and 8th centuries. The group of monuments at Pattadakal is located on the left bank of the river Malaprabha and it has 10 temples including a Jain sanctuary. The temples were built in different architectural styles including Rekha, Nagara (Northern) and Dravidian (southern) styles.
The temples in Pattadakal temple complex are: Virupaksha Temple, Sangameshvara Temple, Chandrashekhara temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Kashivisvanatha Temple, Galaganatha temple, Kadasiddhesvara temple, Jambulingeswara temple, Jain temple and Papanatha temple. Each temple is extremely beautiful. The Virupaksha temple is the largest among all, Sangameshwara temple is the oldest. Kashi Vishwanatha temple was built by Rashtrakutas and this temple is in a typical Nagara style and the gopuram of this temple is fascinating. The group of these temples is an absolute treat for eyes. We did not feel like coming out of that place. But, we were running short of time.
- Opening hours of Aihole temples – 6 AM to 6 PM
- Entrance fee at Aihole (Durga Temple complex) – 5 Rs/person
At around 9 AM, we left from Pattadakal and proceeded towards Aihole which is around 13 km from the palce. We had read before that, there are around 125 ancient temples in Aihole and unlike Pattadakal where all temples were inside one campus, Aihole had temples scattered throughout the village. So, we had assumed that we would need more time to visit the temples in Aihole.
We felt very sad to see the condition of Aihole village which was highly under developed. There were many small temples all around the village which all belonged to 6th to 8th centuries. But, the roads leading to them were very bad. We really are not doing justice to our past glory by not maintaining them well.
Mallikarjuna Temple complex
The first temple that we visited was Mallikarjuna temple complex. The temple complex was big and was simple. The place was calm and quiet. Behind this temple, the Buddhist Chaitya was visible on a huge hillock. This temple is a two story building and looks amazing from Mallikarjuna temple. This can be reached by climbing around 100 steps from this temple. We spent some time by simply sitting inside the Mallikarjuna temple.
Our next destination was Durga temple. This temple is the most popular among all the temples in Aihole. The temple complex is huge and beautiful. The temple complex has another famous temple called Lad khan temple. Along with that, it has few other shrines as well.
Durga temple was also constructed by Chalukyas during 7th-8th century and it is unique in design. Durga temple is not dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is dedicated to either Shiva or Vishnu. The name is originated from “fortress” (in Kannada, Durga means “fort”). The architecture style is predominantly a combination of Dravidian and Nagara style. The pillared corridor makes the temple look magnificent. The temple has beautiful carvings on the walls and on the ceiling. Each and every corner of the temple speaks the glory of our ancestors.
Lad Khan Temple
Towards the south of Durga temple, there is one more beautiful temple called Lad khan temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name of the temple originated after a person called Lad Khan who turned this temple into his residence for a short time. This temple was built in Pachayatana style and is considered to be the oldest temple in Aihole. This temple is also as amazing as other temples. We spent some time in the temple complex and decided to leave at around 10.30 AM.
Huchimalli Temple and Ravana Phadi Cave Temple
On the way back, we visited a small temple called Huchimalli temple. Near to this temple, there is a cave temple called Ravana Phadi cave temple. On the walls of this fine rock cut cave temple, there are amazing carvings of dancing Shiva. This temple has a sanctum which is larger than that of Badami cave temples. After spending some time in the cave temple, we decided to leave. This was our last destination in Aihole and we bid good bye to Bagalkot district and proceeded towards Bijapur.All of us were feeling very happy as we did not get affected by the Karantaka Bandh and we covered all the places in Aihole and Pattadakal as per our plan. Just when we were discussing about this, came the bad part of the day. We were just around 20 km away from reaching the Bijapur highway; the people of one small village called Chittalagi stopped the vehicles. Initially we thought they would allow us to go after half an hour. But, we were wrong. They kept telling that they would leave us only by 6 PM. Clock reading was 1 PM at that time. The scorching sun was taking all our energy. Luckily, we had brought parcel from the hotel where we had breakfast. We ate that food and simply waited. My father-in-law took the initiative and requested the people who were conducting the bandh and after so much of argument they finally agreed to leave us by 4 PM. There were many vehicles lined up by that time. We did not have any other option but to wait in the car and we did the same. As promised, they opened the road at 4 PM. Thus, we wasted almost 3-3.5 hrs simply sitting in the car.
- Entrance fee at Alamatti Dam – 20 Rs/person
On the way, we quickly changed our plan because of this delay. In our original plan, we were supposed to visit any one place in Bijapur on the same evening. Since the time was already 4 PM and we could reach Bijapur only by 6.30 PM, the option of visiting a place in Bijapur was ruled out. So, we decided to visit Alamatti dam which is one of the major dam projects in Karnataka built across the river Krishna, spend some time there and reach Bijapur at around 8 PM.
The National Highway (Solapur-Mangalore highway, NH13) to Bijapur was extremely well maintained. After we hit the highway, after 35 km, we took the diversion for Alamatti. Before entering the main gate for the Alamatti dam, we drove further for 3 kms to visit Krishna river bridge. The combination of Krishna river, the broad bridge, NH13 on one side of the bridge and the Alamatti dam on the other side of the bridge was a spectacular sight to watch.
After taking few photos near the bridge, we left towards Alamatti dam. The road leading to Alamatti dam was absolutely amazing after the main entrance gate. It had seven gardens on the way. The entrance plaza of Alamatti dam is huge and fascinating. There is a musical fountain park inside the entrance plaza. But, at the time we visited, the musical fountain was not operating, so we did not spend much time and proceeded towards the dam and the reservoir.
Unfortunately, the entry to the mighty Alamatti dam (also called as Lal Bahadur Shastri dam) was restricted. There was no proper entry for the reservoir also. But, we got a glance of the huge dam and the backwaters looked like an ocean. While returning, we thought of visiting any of the gardens. But, it was already 6 PM and they stopped entry to the gardens. So, we left the place, had evening snacks at Udupi restaurant beside the dam entrance arch and continued our journey towards Bijapur.
We reached Bijapur at 8 PM. On the way, we got a glimpse of the huge Gumbaz of popular Gol Gumbaz. We checked in to the hotel Pleasant Stay at around 8.30 PM; the hotel was very decent and worth the money that we paid. After having dinner at the hotel, we retired for the day.
The toll fee that we paid (on Solapur-Mangalore highway (on the way to Bijapur)):
|Toll Plaza Name||Fee (Single journey, Car)|
|Nagarhalla (Bijapur – Hungund)||80|
|Kasaba (Bijapur) (Bijapur – Hungund)||50|
- Route Traveled: Badami > Pattadakal > Mallikarjuna Temple complex (Aihole) > Durga Temple & Lad Khan temple complex > Huchimalli Temple > Ravana Phadi cave temple > Alamatti > Bijapur
- Photos: Aihole, Pattadakal, and Alamatti Photos