Shravanbelagola is an important Jain pilgrimage centre with a 57 m tall monolithic sculpture of Lord Gomateswara called Bahubali statue as its prime attraction. Located 144 km from Bengaluru in Hassan District of Karnataka, the collection of Jain Temples in Shravanbelagola attracts a number of pilgrims every year.
Wedged between Chandigiri and Vindyagiri hills on the side of the tank of town called 'Belagola'. 'Bela' means white and 'kola' means the pond in Kannada. It takes a full day to visit all the monuments. For those who find it difficult to climb the hill, Dolis or Palanquin are available of INR 800 to and fro. Every 12 years, Mahamasthabhisheka of Lord Bahubali is performed as a part of Jain culture and this is one most auspicious events in Karnataka. The last festival happened in 2018 and it was 88th festival. The first Mahamasthabisheka was in 981 AD. The next festival is to happen in 2030.
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Two hills by name, Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri exist in Shravanabelagola and are considered to be the places where Acharya Bhadrabahu, the spiritual teacher of Chandragupta Maurya and Chandragupta, himself, meditated. The Chandragupta Basadi, dedicated to Chandragupta Maurya, on the Chandragiri hills, was built by Ashoka, in the 3rd century BC. Chandragiri also houses many memorials of the Sravkas (monks) who are said to have meditated since 5th century AD.
The 58-feet tall monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, the world's largest monolithic statue, which is on located on the Vindhyagiri Hills, is a revered figure among the Jains. Gomateshwara, or Bhagwan Bahubali as the Jains refer it, was the first Tirthankara of Jainism. Legends say that he meditated motionless, for a year, in the standing posture and during this time, plans grew around his legs. After devoting one whole year to meditation, it is said that he attained omniscience. The statue was built by Chanvundaraya, a minister of the Ganga Dynasty in 981 AD.
The Mahamastakabhisheka refers to the anointment of the Jain statues across the country and is carried out on a large scale in Shravanabelagola. Held once every 12 years, the Mahamastakabhisheka is a huge part of Jain culture and heritage. The event that takes place for weeks witnesses the veneration of the Jain statue, Siddha Bahubali; purified water and sandalwood paste are poured on the statue after which sanctified holy water is sprinkled on the participants by devotees who carry 1,008 specially prepared vessels( kalashas). The statue is then bathed in milk, sugarcane juice, saffron paste, and sprinkled with sandalwood, turmeric and vermilion. Offerings to the deity are made in gold, silver and other precious stones. The finale ceremony witnesses a huge shower of flowers from a helicopter.
Basadis near Shravanbelagola
There are numerous basadis in and around Sharavanabelagola, each dedicated to different Tirthankaras of the Jain culture.
1. Akkana Basadi: Built in the year 1181 AD, the Akkana Basadi the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshwanath as the main deity. Built during the time of the Hoysala ruler, King Veera Ballala II, the temple is now under the protection of the Archeological Survey of India as a monument of national importance.
2. Chandragupta Basadi: One of the smaller basadis, this was established during the 9th century AD. While the middle chamber is dedicated to Parshwanath, the one to the right is dedicated to Padmavathi and the left one, to Kushmandini in the seated position.
3. Shanthinatha Basadi: Dedicated to the 16th Tirthankara, Shantinatha, this basadi was built in the 12th century by Ganga Raja, a commander during the Hoysala king, Vishnuvardhana. Built in the year 1200 AD, this temple is situated in Jainanathapura, near Shravabelagola.
4. Suparshwanatha Basadi: A seven-headed snake is carved over the statue of Suparshwanatha, the 7th tirthankara of Jainism.
5. Chavundaraya Basadi: It is dedicated to Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara and dates back to 982 AD.
6. Chandraprabha Basadi: The main deity in this basadi is the 8th Tirthankara, Chandraprabha and it also depicts images of Shyama, Jwalamalini (the Yakshini of Chandraprabha), Yaksha and Yakshi (Hindu and Jain mythical figures). Built in the 800 AD, it is constructed by the Ganga King, Shivamara II and is considered to be one of the oldest temples on the hill.
7. Kattale Basadi: Biggest of all the basadis on the hill, the Kattale basadi is situated left to the Parshwanatha Basadi and is dedicated to the first Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha.
8. Parshwanatha Basadi: Built by Puttaiya, a Jain merchant, between 1672 to 1704 AD, the basadi depicts the tallest image of Parshwanatha, which is 18 feet in height. It is located on the Chandragiri Hill and has a manasthamba (pillar) which is carved on all four sides- Padmavathi on the south, Yaksha on the east, Kushmandini on the north and a galloping horseman on the west.
October to April is the best time to visit Shravanabelagola. These are the cooler months and it becomes easier for visitors to visit the temples as it will require them to be out in the sun a lot more. Summers tend to get quite warm and this becomes difficult for visitors to go to the temples. While the monsoons enhance the flora of the area and the visual appeal, it gets a little slippery and difficult. Read More
What is the local food in Sravanabelagola?
One can relish authentic, rich and traditional cuisine of South Karnataka in this area. Do indulge in Dosa, Jolada Roti, Idli, Vada, Sambhar, Akki Roti, Sheera, Saaru, Kesari Bath, Ragi Mudde, Uppittu, Vangi Bath and traditional and local sweets like Mysore pak, Obbattu, Paaysa etc . Read More
What is the best way to reach Sravanabelagola?
Shravanabelagola is only accessed by roads that are well maintained. There are frequent buses going to and fro. The nearest railway station is at Hassan(45km) with most trains halting there. Mysore (97 km) has the nearest airport and can be accessed using cab service available there. Read More
What are the things to do in Sravanabelagola?
The top things to do in Sravanabelagola are Gomateshwara Statue, Chandragiri Temple, Bhandaribasadi Temple, Akkanabasadi Temple, Vindhyagiri Temple, Jaina Math. You can see all the places to visit in Sravanabelagola here
What are the places near Sravanabelagola?
The top places near to Sravanabelagola are Mysore which is 64 km from Sravanabelagola, Coorg which is located 93 km from Sravanabelagola, Wayanad which is located 134 km from Sravanabelagola, Melukote which is located 20 km from Sravanabelagola, Halebid which is located 66 km from Sravanabelagola
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Deepu Nelluvai 2 years ago
The 58 feet Gomateswara statue located on the top of the hill which is the world's largest monolithic statue considered as Bahubali by Jains.One can reach to the top of this hill by climbing 660 steps.The city look from the hill is also wonderful.Other attraction are numerious jain basadis of different thrithankara and foot print of Chandragupta.
Rohit Shroff 2 years ago
The main religious statue of Bahubali is located atop a hill and we couldn't go there because we were traveling in a group where some people couldn't climb those many stairs. It's a small town and entire town revolves around the Bahubali statue and temple on the hill