Just behind the splendid Kashi Vishweshwara Temple is the equally beautiful Nanneshwar Temple. This excellent example of the famed Lakkundi school of architecture truly does justice to the unique style shaped by the Kalyani Chalukyas in the 11th – 12th century,
The temple sits on a raised platform and is an ekakuta (single shrine) unlike the Kashi Vishweshwara Temple which has been designed as a dvikuta (two shrines) sharing a common mandapa with the Suryanarayana Temple. The temple in plan has pillared mandapas – one closed and one open, an antarala and a garbha griha in which a Shiva Linga has been consecrated.
The pillars in the square mandapas show a harmonious incorporation of North and South Indian architectural elements and artistic sense. The polished pillars in each mandapa are richly embellished from the capital to the base.
The most interesting feature of this temple is the profusely decorated east entrance door jamb. To say it is simply extraordinary would be a grave injustice, as each and every part of the tiers and offsets are intricately carved to the smallest detail. Even the facial expression of the Gajalakshmi seated in the centre of the lintel with an elephant on either side will astound you.
Each offset projection has its own theme with sculptures within the foliage motif, gods and goddesses, repetitive patterns, couples in various postures, scenes from the Puranas, Mahabharat and Ramayana, flowers and auspicious Hindu iconography. The lintel has five tiers of exquisite craftsmanship.
The sculptures in the bottom of the entrance doorway are a real work of art and incredibly proportional in terms of body size and ornamentation.
The external facades are stunning as well and are adorned with sculptures, motifs, design details and miniature niches. The shikhara is slightly smaller in size as compared to the other temples in this site.
There is a Lakkundi utsava that is held in February – March every year with traditional folk dance and songs.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian