Sculpture of Sinha, or lion, in court of Durga Temple, Aihole, Bijapur District
Photographer: Burgess, James
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a sculpture of Sinha, or lion, in the court of the Durga temple at Aihole in Bijapur district, taken by James Burgess in 1874. 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. Together with the two other capitals of Badami and Pattadakal, the site has preserved many Hindu and Jain temples which belong to a period that goes from the 6th to the 12th centuries, belonging to the early and late Chalukya periods and to the Rashtrakuta era. The Durga temple at Aihole is a large and elaborate Hindu temple with an apsidal-ended plan from the late 7th century. It is elevated on a platform and surrounded by an open colonnade. It consists of an entrance, a pillared hall and a sanctuary surrounded by a passageway. A life-size sculpture of a lion or sinha, stands in a heraldic posture with his head turned to the side and one paw raised on the back of a miniature elephant, guarding the access to the staircase.