Estimated Reading Time::Just :)

Sunday 26 February 2023

Lakkundi – A Medieval Wonder

Lakkundi, the village and streets

There are still some hidden, ancient heritage spots in Karnataka that do not see much interest or tourist footfall, and reasons are many for that. Lakkundi is one such place in Gadag district which is neither part of the Hampi tourism circuit nor part of any other circuit. Just about 11 kilometers from the town of Gadag, Lakkundi, once a powerful Kingdom is today a veritable treasure trove of temples and stepwells.

Lakkundi has a unique heritage as we see a “Sangam (combination) of both north and south Indian temple architecture which is known as the Vesara style.
The museum

If anybody is planning to visit Lakkundi, it is better to hire a taxi at Gadag and visit to the Lakkundi museum first. One can visit the Temples & Sculpture Gallery here by purchasing a ticket for Rs 25. A heritage guide is available at Rs 250 for two hours as without their assistance, it is difficult to go round the area and understand the history of these temples.

A stepwell hidden in the village

Interspersed between these temples, there are many ancient stepwells that are now full of water due to excessive rains last year. But in a dry season, one can see the beautifully carved stepwells depicting the skills of the temple artisans.

Muskinabhavi Stepwell and Manikeswara temple
Lakkundi (once known as Lokki Gundi as per the available Kannada inscriptions here) is today just a tiny, shabby, and forgotten village without much facilities and dilapidated roads. Once it was the seat of the Kalyani (Western) Chalukyas during the 11-12th centuries and therefore, one gets to see the stupendous heritage that dates to 1000 CE and is in the form of Hindu and Jain temples.
Kannada inscriptions on the temples of this place

Kashivishveswara Temple

Out of the 50 temples and 101 stepwells, only a few - 11 temples and one stepwell have been restored and protected by ASI. The rest are in various stages of ruin while some are completely gone. Although the ancient city has seen the rule of various mighty dynasties ranging from Chalukyas, Kalachuris to Seuna (Yadavas of Devagiri) and Hoysalas, most of the architecture style,however, is of the Kalyani Chalukyas.
These temples are sandwiched between the homes of Lakkundi

The major temples that one should visit at Lakkundi are – Brahma Jinalaya, Kashi Vishveswara, Nanneshwara, Virupaksha, Kumbhareshwara, Mallikarjuna, Manikeshvara along with its intricate stepwell, the Muskinabhavi, Dantachintamani Attimabbe (one of the oldest temples here), Lakshminarayana, Naganatha, Veerabhadreshwara and a small Jain temple . 
The Chalukya style Kirtimukhas

Further, Lakkundi is an ancient Jain centre. It houses one of the largest Jinalayas with exquisite carvings of Mahavira. Attimabbe, a patron of art and literature and wife of local governor, Dandanayaka Nagadeva, during those days, went on to build 1500 Jain temples in this region. One of them, the Brahma Jinalaya is considered a masterpiece of the western chalukyan style.
Path leading to a stepwell

The approach roads to the temples at Lakkundi and the surroundings are very bad, with stinking drains and dung strewn all over. Eclipsed by the world heritage site of Hampi, Lakkundi with its marvelous and unbelievable and mind-blowing heritage is a poor cousin. However, the temples and its surrounding walled gardens are maintained well by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Shiva temples in this region

Despite organizing the Lakkundi festival every year, the state government has not paid much attention to the development of tourist infrastructure in this temple town. Every year, during the festival, authorities assure of developing this village as a tourist hub and make it part of Hampi circuit but these assurances have just remained on paper. 

The architecture, one of the ornate pillars

The place is hot and dry. Even during winters, the afternoons are very dehydrating. The best time to visit would be during early or late monsoons or during winter. 

We stayed in the  Clarks Inn Hotel at Gadag. Homestays are not very popular here and it is difficult to determine hoe good a lodge is via the internet. Clarks Inn is a safe bet. For our travels, we engaged the services of cab driver, Kumar Patted. Patient and punctual, he was a great help everywhere we went. You can connect with him on 8861543582. 

More about Lakkundi temples in next parts
How To Reach There:
Lakkundi is just 11 kilometers – south east of Gadag city and to reach this city, one can take the Hampi Express from Bengaluru city. The road distance is about 450 kilometers from Bengaluru if you take the Bengaluru-Hospete-Gadag route. But after reaching Lakkundi, it is better to know about your whereabouts as not many people are there to guide you.

Location map:


Anonymous said...

Very nice and interesting article.👍

Athihally Devraj said...

Nice article...more information

Raghu said...

This is very informative and nicely captured. Thanks for sharing

वै.सचिन सदाशिव गणेशवाडी said...

information, pics and your efforts .....hats off... thanks for sharing