We left Naregal and took the road off to Kuknoor.
The Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas considered Kuknoor as the city of Fortification. Shree Kshetra Mahamaya Temple at Kuknoor has many legends associated with it. It is believed that a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali is concealed beneath the present temple complex. Being a living temple, people come here regularly for worship. Also, some of the renovation has taken place and the walls were whitewashed.
The Gajalaxmi over the lintel is present like all other temples. Temple faces the south direction. The three deities of the Goddess are placed inside the temple – Mahakali, Mahamaya and Kshetrapala. As per information I gathered, the epic Mahabharata mentions the temple in its scriptures.
Navalingeshwara temple is located next to the Mahamaya Temple. Unlike Mahamaya, Navlingeshwara Temple still has its architectural features intact. It has not been whitewashed like Mahamaya Temple, but seems neglected. There are foliage outgrowths on the Shikara and wall.
The gate connecting to the Navalingeshwara was locked, we had to climb over the gate to go inside the Complex. It is considered as unique 9th Century temple built by Chalukyas. Unique, because it houses 9 of the 12 Jyotirlingas with each separate Garbagriha and a Shikara for all of them as well as Nandis, some nandi are common to 3-4 of the lingas.
The interiors are painted. There is also a 9th century inscription. We had to again, climb back down over the Gate to leave. We had spent almost 30 mins here, trying to capture each and every detail and on photography.
We left Kuknoor around 11:30 am, going towards Itagi.