Lakkundi (lakkunDi), (ಲಕ್ಕುಂಡಿ) now a small town at a distance of approximately eleven kilometers from Gadag town has a long and illustrious history. It was known as ‘lokkiya gunDi’ during ancient times. It was one of the eighteen ‘agraharas in the ‘beLvola’ region during the 11th and 12th centuries. Being a Brahman settlement it was renowned for vaidic scholarship and luxurious life style. There was an on going war between Bhillama of the Sevuna dynasty and Immadi Ballala of the Hoysala dynasty for the possession of the strong fort in Lakkundi. Bhillama was made to retreat in the famous war at soraTuru and Ballala established an ancillary capital in Lokkigundi. This town lost its importance after the twelfth century. It housed a well known mint during the regime of Kalyani Chalukyas. Gold coins minted here known as ‘Pon Gadyana’ are mentioned in many inscriptions.
Lakkindi is associated with Danachintamani Attimabbe. The famous ‘Brahmajina Alaya’ at Lakkundi was built by her munificent donations and she was also responsible for securing sufficient grants for its upkeep from the Chalukya King Iriva Bedanga Satyashraya.
There are more than twenty temples in Lakkundi built at various points of time during its long history. Manikeshvara, Veerabhadra, Someshvara, Nanneshvara and Mallikarjuna are among the better known temples. Many inscriptions belonging to the Chalukya, Kalachurya and Hoysala dynasties were found here providing invaluable historical information.
“The large Jaina temple, among the many temples at Lakkundi, also near Gadag, is perhaps one of the earliest examples of temples in this area built of a kind of fine-textured chloritic schist as distinct from the hitherto-used sandstone of this region. The new material, because of its less thick quarry-sizes and tractability, reacted on the workmanship, with the result that the masonry-courses became reduced in size and the carvings more delicate and highly finished. The temple, perhaps built in the latter half of the eleventh century, has a five-storied vimana, square on plan from the base to the sikhara, and had originally a closed square navaranga in front, though an open mandapawas added in front later on. The central bay of the navaranga is a larger square than the peripheral eight around it. The second storey, as in the Jaina temple at Pattadakkal, is functional and has an antarala-mantapa in front over the vestibule of the lower storey. This raises the total height of the vimana considerably. The three upper storeys are symbolic and had the suka-nasika projected in front. The kudu-ornaments on the cornices, though flat, retain their arched shape and are characterized by simha-mukha (lion-mask) finials. The pilasters on the walls are slender and between pairs of them are tall nasika-fronts; in the recesses occur for the first time the 'decorative pilaster'-a pilaster carrying a shrine-pavilion on the top of its abacus-a characteristic of contemporary Chola temples in the south-framed inside a torana carried on two flanking pilasters.” (Information taken from the Website of the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’)
Kashi Vishvanatha temple at Lakkundi bears witness to the glory of Hoysala sculpture. This temple was a victim of the invasion of the Chola kings. Many inscriptions found on the ceiling of the temple reveal that this deity was once known as ‘Kavataleshvara’. Some carvings depicting the story of Ramayana are found on the outer walls of the temple.
However Brahmajinalaya is the most well known among the monuments of Lakkundi. This is built as per the architecture of Kalyani Chalukyas. The statue of Teerthankara Mahaveera is now broken. The statues of Brahma and Sarasvathi are found on either side of the sanctum sanctorum (garbha gudi) Parshvanatha Basadi is another Jaina temple in Lakkundi. There are numerous ancient wells in Lakkundi, of which the Chateer Bavi, Kanne Bavi and Musukina Bavi are popular for their carvings and architectural beauty. Most of the wells are carved with tiny Siva shrines in the form of niches into the walls.
Lakkundi has an architectural and sculptural beauty which goes unnoticed many a time.
1. References:1. Lakkundi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia