History – Aihole is the abode of Karnataka sculpture and architecture. Many scholars and priests were living in this area. It was also called Aryapura or Devanagar. Many chalukyan temples are found here. The patronage of the Chalukyas for education archietecture and religious concordance is of high order.
Meguti Temple – The Meguti temple is situated on the rock of a hill. Its is said that the Sanskrit poet Ravikeerthi of Chalukya king Pulikeshi II was instrumental for its construction. We can find the idols of bhagwan Arhanatha, Parshwanatha and Bahubali in this temple. Scholars opined that this temple was mainly responsible for the heroic and artistic life style of Pulikeshi. This temple is in Southern or Dravidian style. This was probably built in the year 634 AD. It has Scantun Santorum, sukanasi and Navaranga (court yard). On either side of the Scantun Santorum there are images of Shri Parshwanatha and Mahavira and also Yaksha Yakshis. Besides these there is a temple of bhagwan Parshwanatha of the 11 th century AD. Three groups of temples are found here called as Charanthi Math, Yenivar Math and Yaginarayana group. All the temples here are being maintained by the archeology department of India.
Aihole Jain Cave or Meena Basti – This cave is hailed from a 5-6 century AD when most of earlier Chalukyan activities were concentrated to Badami and Aihole. The Jain cave at Aihole was carved by the Chalukya kings and belong to the end of sixth century A.D. It is an ornate and richly carved cave. The carvings of Tirthankar Parshwanath in Kayotsarga with the depiction of Kamata’s Upsarga story is one of the oldest carvings on its kind. We can also see carvings of Bahubali flanked by his sisters Brahmi and Sundari opposite to the Parshwanath carving. In addition to this we can also see the carvings of a Tirthankar in sitting posture and carvings of a Tirthankara with gurdian deities.
How to Reach – This place of ancient importance is situated in the Hungund taluk of Bijaapur district and on the banks of Malaprabha river. It is 90 Kms from Bijapur and 40 Kms from Bagalkot. Visitors can stay at either Bagalkot or at Bijapur while visiting this place.