Lakkundi in Gadag District of Karnataka is a place of antiquarian interest with as many as 50 temples, 101 stepped wells (called Kalyani or Pushkarni) and 29 inscriptions, spread over the period of the later Chalukyas, Kalachuris, Seuna and the Hoysalas. A great center of Kalyani Chalukyas art, there are several temples of note here. Among them Kasi Vishwanatha is the most ornate and elaborately furnished. There is also a Jain Temple dedicated to Mahavira, the largest & oldest shrines at Lakkundi. Lakkundi is also noted for its step wells, artistically built with small canopied niches inside the walls of the wells enshrining lingas. There is sculpture gallery maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The architecture of the Chalukyas of Kalyani are said to be a link between those of the early Chalukyas of Badami and the Hoysalas who succeeded them.
Brahma Jaina Basti built by queen Attimabbe is the largest of many Jain temples in Lakkundi. This temple is dedicated to Mahavira, the most revered saint of Jainism.
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-storeyed 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.
Kashi Vishweshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Siva is meticulous for its carvings on the towers and the doorways. The heavy circular pillars were made using some kind of lathe.
A great deal of care has gone into the construction of the Kashivisvanatha temple in Lakkundi which deifies Shiva. This temple has a unique feature: a small surya shrine faces the main shrine on the west. There is a common platform between both which must have been an open mandapa originally. Hence the Kashivisvanatha temple has an entrance on the east side and south side of the mandapa. The entrance doorway and the towers are covered with close intricate carving. The shikhara is in the North-Indian style and it looks like a lathe must have been used to make the complex circular pillars.
Manikesvara Temple And Stepped Tank
Nanneshwara Temple located to its north is worth a visit. This temple looks like a simple and small replica of the much elaborate Kashi Vishweshwara Temple. Probably the Nanneshwara Temple was built as a prototype before the grand Kashi Vishweshwara Temple was executed.
There are numerous ancient wells in Lakkundi, of which the Chateer Bavi, Kanne Bavi and Musukina Bavi are popular for their carvings architectural beauty. Most of the wells are carved with tiny Siva shrines in the form of niches into the walls.