Lakkundi in Gadag district is a tiny village on the way to Hospet from Hubli. Even to the ones who are suffering from the temple fatigue, Lakkundi can be a pleasant surprise with more temples!
Tanks to the two clusters of popular heritage centers, Hampi in its west Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole trio in its north, Lakkundi is often a gem missed by majority of tourists. One take the trouble of making visit to Lakkundi is rewarded with one of the fine architectural feasts of the Kalyana Chalukya period (about 10 century CE).
Lakkundi is known for the Chalukyan style temples, stepped wells and historic inscriptions. Owing to its uniqueness, sometimes these temples are simply referred to as Kalyana Chalukya Temples.
Kashi Vishweshwara Temple, dedicate 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; 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.
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.
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.
Currently Lakkundi has about 50 temples of various stature and antiquity. Some of the temples of note are Halagunda Basavanna Temple, Laxmianarayana Temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Manikeshwara Temple, Nadayadeva Temple, Nagaradeva Shrine, Neelakanteshwara Temple, Suryanarayana Shrine (of Sun God facing the Kashi Vishweshwara Temple ), Someshwara Temple, Virabhadara Temple, Vishwantha Temple, Virupaksha Temple. Most of them are dedicated to Lord Siva and his various aspects.
Gadag, the district center itself have a few attractive temples. Trikuteshwara Shiva temple is impressive with its intricately ornate pillars, screens of carved stones and friezes.
Once you get dropped at the Lakkundi bus stand, you can practically cover all the temples and other monuments on foot. Nevertheless you can hire a local taxi for better convenience.
Lakkundi is about 12 kilometers ( 8 miles ) from Gadag town, the nearest bus and rail station. Hubli, Hospet or Dharwar are other major nearby towns to get long distance connections.
The beauty of the Hoysala templs , particularly its intricate carvings owes a lot to one material - Soapstone. Unlike granite, sandstone and marble used in the construction of most of India's ancient monuments, soapstone is softer with some peculiar properties that set it apar from the former materials. To give you an idea , the softer version of the soapstone can be carved even with your finger nail.