Lakshmeshwara is a town in Shirahatti taluk, Gadag district, North Karnataka, in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is about 50 km from Gadag and 55 km from Hubli. Lakshmeshwara is an agricultural trading town.
There are many important temples in this historic town, including the Shiva temple, the "Someshwara Temple". There are two historical Jain temples (Sannabasadi and Shankabasadi) in the town, as well as its notable Jamma Masjid. Lakshmeshwara is also home for many shrines, a dargah, the Kodiyellamma temple, the Mukha Basavanna shrine, and a gigantic idol of Suryanarayana.
Lakshmeshwara is famous for prolific culture and literature. It is a place with rich heritage in Karnataka hence it is called as Tirulugannada Nadu. Many kings have patronised the place.
Kannda inscriptions at Someshwara temple complex at Lakshmeshwara, North Karnataka
Lakshmeshwar or ancient Huligere or Puligere was the capital of Puligere-300. Puligere means pond of tigers. There are theories of the origin of the name Lakshmeshwara: from King Lakshmanarasa who was ruling Puligere or from the temple called Lakshmi-Lingana gudi, which means the temple of Lakshmi.
Other names include Purigere, Porigere, Purikanagar and Pulikanagar.
Adikavi Pampa wrote his famous poetry in Lakshmeshwara.
Many Jain saints and writers have flourished here. They include Devachakra Bhattaraka, Shankanacharya, Hemadevacharya, Padmasena, Tribhuvana Chandra Padmita and Rama Dvacharya.
At the Someshwara temple complex, there are many Kannada inscription. Over 50 stone inscriptions (records) show the cultural importance.
- The Kanarese (Kannadiga) poet Kayasena of Mulgund, who wrote in the Bharmamrita, was a disciple of Narendrasena II of the Lakshmeshwar inscription of 1081.
- Lakshmeshwar inscription of the reign of Jagadekamella II.
- Two Jain Inscription of Mulgund and Lakshmeshwar
- The Lakshmeshwar inscriptions (in Kannada dated January 13 735), during 733–744 CE Vikramaditya II was the son of King Vijayaditya who ascended the Badami Chalukyas throne following the death of his father.
Jainism related to Lakshmeshwara has long history.
- At Lakshmeshwara, during the period of Kirtivarma II, the Jinalaya built by Kumkuma Mahadevi.
Kalyani Chalukyas most important Jinalayas Brahma Jinalaya at Lakkundi, Charantimatha at Aihole and Sankha Jinalya at Lakshmeswar. The Sankha Jinalaya at Lakshmeshwara is dedicated to Neminatha (as per many inscriptions this was an important Jinalaya). Sendraka Durgashakti, a feudatory of Pulakesi II is said to have given gifts to this temple. An inscription of Vinayaditya (dated 686 A.D.) refers to a grant to Jain acharya of Devagana and mulasangha.
- Epigraph dated 729 A. D. of Vijayaditya mentions a grant to Niravadya Pandita who was to house pupil of Sri Pujyapada. Another inscription of Vikramaditya II (dated 734 A. D.) mentions gifts to Sweta Jinalaya.
- The Jaina monument of the Rashtrakuta period found Lakshmeshwar.
During the rule of Adilshahi (Bijapur Sultanate), a dargah and mosque were built. The Kali Masjid here is an ornate structure, built by Bijapur commander Ankush Khan.
Someshwara temple complex
The most important monuments are at Lakshemshwar is the Someshwara temple complex ( 11th century). The temple complex with three main entrances is surrounded by high walls look like a fort. It is a splendid specimen of Chalukya architecture.
Main entrance and hall at Someshwara temple at Lakshmeshwara, North Karnataka
In middle of the temple complex, there is a Someshwara temple, surrounded by many small temples mainly dedicated to Shiva, along the compound wall, built with granite, some halls in the complex meant for resting devotees.
Someshwara temple with the traditional structures of a temple includes a garbha griha, an ardha mantapa or halfway hall, a navaranga and a mukha mantapa or entrance porch.
The Nandi and Shiva Parvati idols in the temple are exquisitely sculpted. These idols are referred to as Saurashtra Someshwara, as these idols were brought by a Shiva devotee from Saurashtra and installed at Lakshmeshwara.
In side the Someshwara temple complex, behind the temple there is an open well, meant mainly for the use of the temple.
Lakshmeshwara is one of the ancient Jain centres. Many Jain temples are mentioned in the inscriptions.
Of the two historical Jinalayaa at Lakshmeswar the more famous is Sankha Jinalaya, also called Sahasrakuta Jinalaya, is in the BastiBana area. This takes back the history of Lakeshmeshwara to 8th century; though the temple is in Chalukya style it has undergone many modifactions and renovations.
Neminath (Shankha is the symbol of Neminath), the 22th Jain Thirthankara, is the presiding deity of this Jain Basadi.
Basadi which consists of a Garbhagriha, a large Ardhamandapa, larger Mahamandapa and a Rangamandapa.
- The rangamandapa has three entrances (south, north and west). It has a chaturmukha structure in dimunitive model, each of which carries three figures. it has a rekhanagara sikhara. The unique feature of this temple is the Sahasrakuta Jinabimba in minute form.
- There is a Manasthamba erected in front of the temple.
- There are ventilated walls in front of the temple. Where as yakshas and yakshis can be found in the other walls. there are many splendid carvings of dancers and musicians.
- Inside the temple one can find the rare monolithic piece of Sahasra Jinabimbas (SahastraKut Jinalay) and the idols of Dharnendra and Padmavathi.
- Many mutilated Jain idols can be found on the wall of a well nearby.
Adikavi Pampa wrote Adi Purana, seated in this Basadi.
- Basadi is in ruins and renovated, it presents the interest of the Kalyani Chalukyas in Jain architecture.
The other Jinalaya in this place is a Trikuta dedicated to 'Anantanatha.
Another Jain temple at Lakshmeshwara is the Ananthanatha Basadi, built in AD 1250, which is in the middle of the town. This Basadi is an example of the Chalukya style of architecture. The idol of Ananthanatha, one of the 24 Thirthankars, is installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.
During Adilshahi rule (Bijapur Sultanate), they built monuments like Masjid, Darga. They adapted the Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The Jumma Masjid and Ankushkhan Darga are very attractive.
At Lakshmeshwar there is an artistically raised mosque (masjid) in the style of a Hindu temple of Adilshahi times.
The Jumma Masjid at Lakshmeshwara which dates back to the time of the Adilshahi rule. The mosque was built in 1617 by Ankush Khan. Jumma Masjid is constructed in Indo-Saracenic style. The massive doors of the mosque are like a fort entrance. The mosque has two tall minars and a large semicircular dome. There are Dravidian style chains hanging across the ceiling of the mosque.
Ankushkhan Darga might have been named after Ankushkhan of Bijapur. The Dargha is near the KSRTC bus stand of Lakshmeshwar. It is as old as Jumma Masjid. It is constructed in Indo-Saracenic architecture style.
Lakshmeshwar is at . It has an average elevation of 634 metres (2080 feet).
India census, Lakshmeshwar had a population of 33,411. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Lakshmeshwar has an average literacy rate of 62%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 70%, and female literacy is 53%. In Lakshmeshwar, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.
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