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Travel Destinations: Bagalkot, A Cradle of Temple Architecture

The Karnataka district, Bagalkot, is home to some of the finest examples of temple architecture. The district headquarter, of the same name, is a commercial town.

The following spots of Bagalkot district are of tourist and pilgrim interests:

Aihole: Aihole was the capital of Chalukya kings during 4th-6th centuries. There are 125 temples here, all intrically carved. Some of them are: Lad Khan, Durga temple, Hutchamalli temple, Ravalphadi cave temple, Konthi temple, Jain Meghuthi temple, Buddhist temple.

Pattadakal: 22 km from Aihole, on the left bank of the Malaprabha river, Pattadakal was the second capital of the Chalukyas. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are two types of temple architecture seen here: Kashivishweshwara, Jambulinga and Galaganatha temples with curvilinear shikaras or spires; and, Mallikarjuna, Sangameshwara and Virupaksha with square roofs and receding tiers. Mallikarjuna and Virupaksha temples were built around 740 AD to commemorate the victory of Vikramaditya II over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram.

Badami: 22 km from Pattadakal. it is situated at the mouth of Badami ravine. A taluk headquarter, it was once the capital of the Chalukyas. It is a treasure of sculptures and rock cut caves. The architecture here is said to have the blueprint for the temples all over South India. There are three caves to be seen: three are dedicated to the Hindu pantheon and one is a Jain temple of Parshwanatha. The idols of Nataraja, Ardhanareeshwara, Harihara, Parvati, Trivikrama, Adisesha and Bhuthanatha can be seen.

Mahakoota: 5 km from Badami, Mahakooteshwara temple is located in a forest. One has to wade through water to reach the shrine.

Siddanakolla: 7 km from Aihole, this is a rocky ravine with a waterfall. Sangameshwara temple is here.

Jamakhandi: The Patwardhan palace here is an Indo-Saracenic structure. There is a pond nearby, called Ramatheertha.

Ilkal: 13 km from Hungud, this town is a commercial centre, famous for hand-woven Ilkal sarees. Here one can see Venkateshwara temple, Shankarlinga temple and Vijaya Mahanthesha Math.

Bilgi: 65 km from Bijapur, this town has several monuments in Kalyana Chalukya style. The place has a stone well called Arethina Bhavi, Siddheshwara temple with a bathing pond, Hazrat Hassan Dargah, where Muslims and Hindus worship.

Mahalingapura: 20 km from Mudhol, this is a pilgrim centre of Veerashaivas who visit Mahalingeshwara Math. Here the Hindus and the Muslims attend each other's festivals.

Mudhol: Situated on the left bank of the river Ghataprabha, it is the birthplace of Kannada poet Ranna. The Shiva temple, Kamaleshwar temple, the Mahavir basadi and the Bramhagaddi Veershaiva Math are the main attractions. The Syed Peer Dargah is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity. The Ghorpade-bred Mudhol dogs are well-known.

Koodalasangama: 20 km north of Hungud, this is a pilgrim centre at the confluence of Krishna and Malaprabha rivers. The Sangameshwara temple here built in Chalukyan style is well-known.

Lokapura: 22 km from Mudhol. There are many temples here built in Rashtrakuta style. Some of them are the Lokeshwara temple, Ramalingeshwara temple and the Durgadevi temple.

Banashankari: 5 km from Badami. Banashankari, an ancient shrine dedicated to the goddess, attracts a large number of devotees. Harishchandra Theertha is a sacred pool in front of the temple built in Chalukyan architecture.

HOW TO REACH Bagalkot: Nearest airport: Bengaluru; Railway stations: Bagalkot, Badami; Road: Well-connected to all major towns

GOVT. REGIONAL TOURIST OFFICES: 1. Golgumbaz Road, Bijapur 2. Hotel Anugraha Delule, Bagalkot 3. Hotel Mayura Chalukya Premises, Badami

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