Lakkundi and Dambal, Karnataka

After spending a week in Badami, my journey took me to Lakkundi. An architect and good friend of mine Santosh Ramane insisted to visit this place for the research and I had to add it to the list. I am so glad I did.

Lakkundi was an extension to the stream of consciousness, while I was exploring the Chalukya architecture and artisanship. The temples of Lakkundi and Dambal have recently cought attention and they were to the mercy of locals who even till date use them. 101 temples and 101 wells is what they proudly proclaim while introducing Lakkundi. Only few of them come under control of the Archeological department.

Recently built structure on the old structure. Some of the temples are getting rcc roof tops too.

As it should be, the people have evolved arround these temples making it intigeral part of there life style. And the temples involved with them. They have changed over time and I guess it is way better than vandalism.

There is constant change in culture, religion that influences the style and trends of the era. If the the usability of the the art is not lost, kept within the utilitarian realms, the art too evolved with the people.

Black schists of this region has allowed more detailing in the execution of the sculpting, which happen to be signature of Kalyani Chalukya (Northern Chalukya)
Architecture and Sculptures.


Dambal is a very small village near Lakkundi. Which show the traces of colonisation. As I mentioned earlier, the colonisation in many parts of India has seperated the art from its people. Documentation and exhibition was never our way of experiencing art. The compounds arround the temple for preservation and conservation have ripped apart the art and religion. It has put these wise examples of India art into prison. The revolution stoped the evolution which lead to dormancy. I cannot imagine any other fate other than contamination.

Reservoir built in 1886 under intrusion of Victoria.
Beautiful Ganapati temple.
Japadi Bavi (well) in Dambal.


I would like to state and example of Gadag to elaborate my point further. The Trikuteshwar temple of Gadag, has evolved over centuries under reign of Chalukya. There are layers of history to this architecture from 9th to 11th century. A disruption rather than interruption.

Extention made in 11th century to the old architecture.
Trikuteshwar temple, Gadag

What I mean to say is that, every rulers that have ruled India, added to the glory and beauty of her art, architecture, food and culture. Accept for the intruder colonists, who created a void in the people, culture and there art. The only motion of intrusion was looting the country of its wealth and supplementing there own culture. I nothing against Brits, Portuguese and French 😆, but this journey has formed a quest to find a missing links in Indian art and reinstalling the Indianness. How it would have been if was not interfered with and was left alone to the beauty of evolution rather than revolution.

And too be frank, I don’t think preservation and conservation too make any sense. I hold nothing against the Graffiti lover who mark there thoughts on the ancient walls. This is how it should be. What meaning does the person standing in front of the artwork, canvas finds to be true. And anything that needs saving, is proved to be weak and bound to get distroyed.

Let’s build something new in these ruin of past, and let it fall again to become something else… Change is constant and let’s accept it.

Want to thank Kiran Guad (Studying theology) from Dambal and Manikkani (was associated with ASI and now an independent Guide and archeology enthusiast) who graciously showed me many things which would have been inaccessible otherwise. True Joy in this journey is to meet interesting people.


13 Feb 2021,Gadag

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