The Brahma Jinalaya (Jain temple) of Lakkundi, KA, an unexplored legacy of Western Chalukya -

The Brahma Jinalaya,Lakkundi,

The town of Lakkundi (earlier known as Lokki-gundi), 11 km from Gadag town (Gadag district), Karnataka has numerous temples and stepwells and is not a favorite place for the tourist because the tourism department of Karnataka  government and the ASI have not made serious attempt to popularize this  heritage place. Many temples  dedicated to God Shiva and the  Jain temple here have beautiful sculptures, but many of them are damaged by vandals., So puja is not done except an oil lamp or two are lit up  in  some of them. This post is about the Jain place of worship. The heritage department of  Karnataka  can restore the damaged sculptures, etc and make the Lakkundi heritage site a popular one. 

 beheaded Mahavira.Jinalaya,Lakkundi, KA

Inner mandapaen.Brahma Jinalaya,Lakkundi, KA

Above images; Top. damaged Mahavira in the sanctum of the Jain temple, Lakkundi. Below image: Lower parts of the lathe-turned polished pillars contain Jain carvings................ 

The presence of a beautiful jinalaya shows the growth of Jainism in that part of Karnataka more than 900 years ago.  The Brahma Jinalaya  temple  (originally dedicated to  monk Mahavira) built in 1007 CE  by Attimabbe, wife of Nagadev. The latter was an influential military official  under both Taila II and Satyashraya Irivabedanga (997-1008 A.D.), Western Chalukya rulers. Several inscriptions here mention the name of the temple as the Brahma Jinalaya of Lokkigundi and the gifts it received before the 14th-century. 

What is quite interesting is the Jinalaya is built like a  Hindu temple with distinct  parts like a garbhagriha, an antarala, a closed macaranga mandapa, and an open pillared mukha-mandapa (with 28 pillars).  The single shrine (ekakuta) is connected to various halls /mandapams via a vestibule (sukanasi or ardha mantapa).

Brahma Jinalaya,Lakkundi, KA 

Square in plan, in the garbhagriha a small idol of Neminatha Thirthankara  is enshrined on a pedestal with Yakshi Padmavati on his left and Yaksha on his right.  Of interest is a carving of Gaja Lakshmi and Mahavira just above the entrance to the garbhagriha, Above the  garbhagriha is a 3- story shikhara with seated Jaina figure is  set in relief at regular intervals  above the cornice of the arched niches with a kirtimukha decoration above. The ceilings are plain,but the pillars are ornate. The walls have pilasters, and the spaces between them contain, relief work, pavilions, and miniature decorative towers (aedicula). 

This Jain temple is a fine example of Western Chalukya architecture of late 11th or early 12 th century. and its design  is quite similar to the older Shiva temple in Kukkanur.  They represent the transition phase between early Chalukya and Late Chalukya styles and.the Jaina temple  is a blend of both Dravida and vesara style 

The main building material is soapstone which is not a hard rock like granite or basalt. Unlike Badami Chalukya style of  temple design (at Pattadakal), the diminishing height of masonry shikara dominated the western Chalukyas, This being due to the hardness of  soft rocks  soapstone (a metamorphic rock) used in the construction. Earlier they used  hardened and well- compacted  sandstone and other rocks. The advantage of soap stone  in the building work is it is easy to come up with intricate and beautiful stone carvings but hey are susceptible to vagaries of weather and can be easily vandalized.

 In the nearby museum on display are various artifacts and many exquisitely crafted but broken idols from this area.,_Lakkundi


Dhaky and Meister call the temple as the Great Jaina temple of Lakkundi, thereby differentiating it from other minor Jaina temples of Lakkundi.[9]