One of the finest examples of trikutachala (temple with three sanctums) of the 12th century is the Manikeshwara Temple located in Lakkundi village. This beautiful temple along with the magnificent Muskin Bhavi that is in front of it exudes the grandeur, architectural ingenuity and artistic excellence of the Hindu kings who ruled over this historically important city.
The temple designed perhaps for the Trimurti and hence, three garbha grihas has a common mandapa and an entrance porch supported by four pillars. There is a Shiva Linga of Saligrama consecrated in one shrine but the other two are empty. The shikhara has also been destroyed.
The external walls are largely plain but have interesting carvings, auspicious Hindu iconography, repetitive elements and miniature niches. The interior walls are bereft of decoration with niches but no sculptures. An inscription on a pillar mentions a gurukula, guru and bhoga mandapa.
A common design feature in most South Indian temples is the jali or perforated stone panels to allow light to enter. The simplicity of the design elements in the temple and the panoramic view of the kalyani in front is a sight to behold.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has maintained this temple site impeccably.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian