Thursday, March 11, 2010


I was in Lakkundi (12 km from Gadag, about 60 km from Hubli) a few weeks ago - hot, dusty, typically bucolic, incredibly charming.

This picture was taken at the Manikeshvara temple, my favourite spot in Lakkundi (it is actually just outside it). The temple is in a small clearing in the midst of trees, and is utterly empty of people. Well, almost. The solitude, peace and quiet, and the large sheltering trees make this an ideal spot to contemplate on the higher things in life, as this man seems to be doing.

The railings that you see the man leaning against are along the Musukinabavi, one of the most beautiful kalyanis I have seen in Karnataka. It has a rather unusual design, complete with an underpass - no, not the ugly variety that you see on Bangalore' s roads, but a rather elegant design. A 'bridge' leads from the temple to where the man is standing. Under this is another 'bridge' - a set of beams that connects chambers (changing rooms?) on two sides of the tank. Underneath both these bridges is a long flight of steps leading to the water. There are small decorative shrines all around the kalyani's steps.

There are other interesting temples in Lakkundi - some with only walls, some with nothing more than a linga left, the rest having long been absorbed into adjacent dwellings. The small square houses, with their white plastered walls contrasting with the deep blue of the sky, reminded me of photos of Majorca. Of course, to my (admittedly biased) eyes, I found Lakkundi much more appealing, what with its cows lounging in the shade, its brightly painted wooden carts, the old men sitting on their haunches watching me...

Lakkundi has a shepherding community who make blankets and durries. I was on a tight schedule on this visit (on a project for the Archaeological Survey of India) and so didn't get to chat with too many people this time. That will have to wait for the next time...

Today's Deccan Herald has an article I wrote on Lakkundi.