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Tuesday 28 February 2023

Brahma Jinalaya - The Outer Mantapa

In our efforts to bring more stories to spottedowlets, Meera and I decided to visit Gadag, with the intention of exploring both nature and the extravaganza of ancient architecture in and around that place.
We will be attempting to bring in as much information as possible from all the temples we visited, hoping to do at least some justice to magnificent structures we visited. 

Meera has already given a brief history of Lakkundi, so let’s dive in. Starting the journey from the Jain temple or ‘Brahma Jinalaya’ at Lakkundi,  we visited this fascinating structure at midday during midweek. Needless to say, we had exclusive time there. 

A view of the temple
The access to the Brahma Jinalaya is from the side of the Museum. The Museum is small but still has a fascinating collection of sculptures and retrieved art pieces from across Lakkundi. The Museum staff also helped us find a guide, which was essential, else we may have missed out on the nuances of beautiful structures we visited. 
This early 11th century temple was one of the many fine structures that were built by Attimabbe. 

Our first view of this restored east facing temple was of the intricately carved sanctum sanctorum and a closed Mantapa, followed by an open Mantapa. 

The airy and spacious open mantapa

The afternoon heat was unforgiving, but the temple with its soapstone columns was very cool. We spent the better part of an hour here and I am going to allow the images to tell you the story of this magnificent masterpiece.

Lets start with the outer mantapa.

A long shot of the deity from the open mantapa

Each row of pillars in the open mantapa had a different design. In fact the were made differently too. The pillars were made od soapstone and could be removed and reassembled. Something that was already done during the restoration of the temple.

Pillars with varying patterns in the open mantapa.
These pillars can be removed and reassembled.

The entrance to the inner sanctum is flanked by a grand five framed doorway. Each layer of the doorway is differently themed. One is covered with animal motifs, while another one has musicians and dancers. Couples in various poses adorn a frame and another one has Nagas and amrutha kalashas.

The beautiful five layered frame
at the entrance to the inner sanctum
Gajalakshmi or the Lakshmi deity with 
two elephants at the entrance.

The western chalukyas were mainly Shaivites or worshippers of lord Shiva. But Gajalakshmi above the lintel of the entrance indicates it is a Vaishnava temple. In this temple while the outer lintel has Gajalakshmi, the inner lintel has a Jain Thirthankara, indicating both influences.

The flooring near the entrance seems to have an etched welcome mat.

A closer look at the five layers
of the frame at the entrance
One of the layers is dedicated
to animal figurines

A layer with Amrutha
Kalasha in the frame
A layer with dancers
& musicians in the frame

A closer look at the
Amrutha Kalasha
A prototype of the temple within
the temple

Now let's move inside to have a look the inner closed mantapa.

Location map:

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