Aihole also referred to as Aivalli, Ahivolal or Aryapura, is a historic site of ancient and medieval era Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments in north Karnataka, India dated from the sixth century through the twelfth century CE. Aihole is 22 miles (35 km) from Badami and about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Pattadakal, both of which are major centers of historically important Chalukyan monuments. Aihole, along with nearby Badami (Vatapi), emerged by the 6th century as the cradle of experimentation with temple architecture, stone artwork, and construction techniques. This resulted in 16 types of free-standing temples and 4 types of rock-cut shrines. The experimentation in architecture and arts that began in Aihole yielded the group of monuments at Pattadakal, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Over one hundred Aihole temples are Hindu, a few are Jain and one is Buddhist. The Lad Khan temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva came to be called Lad Khan temple, named after the Muslim commander who used it as his operational hub, and a name that has been used ever since. It is constructed in the Panchayatana style of architecture.
The Durga temple at Aihole is an apsidal temple of about 550 A.D.The name of the temple may have derived from the word ‘durga’ meaning fort. It is dedicated to either Vishnu or Shiva as the representations of Vishnu are as numerous as those of Shiva.
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