Kirstistambha gateway at entrance to the Galaganatha Temple Group, Aihole
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Kirstistambha gateway at the entrance to the Galaganatha Temple Group of Aihole, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1880s. Aihole was one of the capitals and an important commercial centre of the Early Western Chalukya, a powerful dynasty which ruled the Deccan from the 6th century. Similar to the two other Chalukyan capitals, Badami and Pattadakal, there are many Hindu and Jain temples preserved at the Aihole which belong to a period that spans the 6th to the 12th centuries, encompassing the Early and Late Chalukya periods and the Rashtrakuta era. This view shows the elaborate gateway that stands at the entrance of the Galaganatha group of temples, a series of Hindu temples that date to the Rashtrakuta period, the 9th-10th centuries. Its pillars are decorated with the pot and foliage motif and the lintel is sculptured with foliated makaras. In his report Cousens wrote, "Standing at the approach to the courtyard of the temple of Galagnatha at Aihole is an ornamental entrance which is composed of two upright pillars carrying a sculptured beam or architrave across the top. These erections, which can hardly been called gateways, pass under the names of toranas and kirthistambhas."