Ajeya Vajpayee

Ajeya Vajpayee is a research scholar. She has recently completed her M.Phl from the Department of History, University of Delhi. She has specialised in ancient Indian History. Her research interest lies in the art historical traditions of ancient India. she has experience documenting a number of regions and sites across India.

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Unique in terms of their architecture, Calukyan temples are built in Karnāṭa-Draviḍa. This style reveals an assimilation of northern and southern artistic traditions and a style autochthonous to the region. Though temples from the region were only constructed in the Karnāṭa-Draviḍa style temples of northern and southern origin were very much a part of the religious landscape of the region. An architectural element attributed to the temples of this region is the central projection on the superstructure that eventually became stark and served as a roof for the antechamber. It came to be called the śukanāsa-antefix.



Surfaced in and around the R Malaprabhā valley, a tributary of R Kṛṣṇa in the Bagalkot district (erstwhile Bijapur) of Northern Karnataka. The first set of temples were constructed in Bādāmi soon after its fortification in CE 544 by the Calukya king Pulakēśi I (535/543-566 CE). Henceforth, Bādāmi became the capital of the Calukyan ruling house. Later, temple building activities were also taken up at Aihoḷe, which sprang near Bādāmi as a twin city and stood out for its expansive landscape; Mahākūṭa which evolved as a Śaiva centre and Paṭṭadakal which transpired as a royal coronation centre.



Emerged and thrived under the Calukyas of Bādāmi in Deccan between two centuries; during mid 6th- mid 8th century CE.



Unique in terms of their execution, they exhibit an interesting admixture of Nāgara and Draviḍian idiom. In addition, these temples boast great length.



Pulakēśi I (c. 535?/ 543-566 CE), Kīrttivarmā I (566/7-597/8 CE), Mangalēśa (596/7-608/9 CE), Pulakēśi II (608/9-642 CE), Vikramāditya I (654/5-678/681 CE), Vinayāditya (681-696 CE), Vijayāditya (696-733 CE), Vikramāditya II (733-745 CE), Kīrttivarmā II (745-757 CE).



Stone; red sandstones saw acceptance as a medium of temple construction under the Calukyas. Interestingly, stones were brought together without mortar to built these temple.


Extant examples

  • Bādāmi: Cave I, II, III and IV, Upper Śivālaya, Lower Śivālaya, Mālegitti Śivālaya,
  • Aihoḷe: Jambuliṅga Rāvaḷaphaḍi Cave, Mēguṭi, Durga and Lāḍ Khān͂ temples,
  • Mahākūṭa: Mahākutēśvara, Mallikārjuna, and Saṅgamēśvara,
  • Paṭṭadakal: Vīrūpākṣa, Mallikārjuna, Vijayēśvara, and Pāpanātha temples.



J F Fleet, H Cousens, Gary Tartakov, Carol Bolon, George Michell, M A Dhaky, M Meister, K V Soundararaja, S V Padigar.