Indus Valley




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The Chalukyas who ruled over Upper Deccan (7th Century AD.) were greatly interested in temple architecture. Followers of Hinduism, they built a number of rock-cut cave-temples and structural temples of brick dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The important stone temples are the Vishnu temples at Badami and Aihole and the Virupaksha or Shiva Temple at Pattadakal in Bijapur District. The Vishnu temple at Badami was built by Magalesa of the Chaluya Dynasty and contains the Aihole inscription of Vikramaditya II which gives us a lot of information about the Chalukyas. The cave temples especially those at Badami contain fine sculptures of Vishnu reclining on Sesha Nag, Varaha the Boar, Narasimha or the half-lion and half-man and Vamana the dwarf.


Cave temple, Badami

(Picture courtesy Archaeological Survey of India)


The temples at Aihole are closed square mandaps standing on a basement. They have a hall with four central pillars supporting a flat roof. The sloping periphery of the roof is supported on two rows of pillars, the one on the periphery shorter than the other. The space between the two rows of pillars is closed by perforated stone-slabs. The main mandap contains a Nandi. The flat roof has another shrine, the walls of which are made of slabs. The sloping roof helped to drain off the rain water.


Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal

(Picture courtesy Archaeological Survey of India)


The Virupaksna temple at Pattadakal is the earliest temple complex of the Chalukyas. It consists of a high vimana, mandaps and smaller shrines around the courtyard enclosed by a wall. The front and rear walls have large gopura entrances. The smaller shrines are two-storeyed and have vaulted halls. The main square structure has a tall four-storeyed vimana. The mandapa pillars are richly sculptured. The temples at Pattadakal represent both the Northern and Southern style of architecture. .


Cave Temple, Ellora

(Picture courtesy Archaeological Survey of India)


The large cave temples excavated by the early Chalukyas are located in Badami, Aihole, Ellora and in the Guntur and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh. Of the three brahmanical caves at Badami two are dedicated to Vishnu and one to Shiva. These temples consist of a rectangular pillared verandah, a square pillared hall with a small shrine cell at the back. Excavated in an axial plane, they have flat roofs like the mandapa type temples. Wide entrances, tall pillars with cushion type capitals supporting the roof and overhanging eaves are the main features of these cave temples. Figures of animals, humans and divine beings adorn the brackets.

The two cave temples at Aihole are dedicated to Shiva and have rock-cut lingas in them. The cave temples at Ellora are also dedicated to Shiva and contain images of Mahesa, Linga and Nandi. One of the caves is double-storeyed.         

The cave temples in Andhra Pradesh contain relief sculptures of Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, Linga and Nandi.