Sravanabelgola The town is located in the midst of two hills. There is a tank in the midst of this town called " Belagola " and the town is called by the same name. It is 8 miles from Channarayapatna in Hassan district. The town's Municipality has existed for the past 70 years. Shravanabelagola is a holy place for Jains. Their Guru is residing here in a Mutt. There is a Sanskrit Patashala to study Sanskrit and Shastras.
This town has got some historical references, which add to the importance of this place. According to the tradition of the Jain Bhadrabahu , one of the Sritakavalli as the successor of Vardhamana (Mahaveera) passed away here in a cave on Chandrabetta while leading a migration to the South from Ujjain due to a 12-year famine, which he had predicted as his chief attendant by the Maurya Emperor Chandragupta who had abdicated the throne and in accordance with Jain rules adopted the life of a hermit.
There are ancient monuments in and around Shravanabelagola. There are monuments of rare excellence and skill got executed by the illustrious Gangas and Hoysalas who had profound sense of duty and ardent devotion to religion. The chief monuments are found in two sacred hills known as the Vindhyagiri and the Chandragiri.
In the heart of the town there is a beautiful pond called as the Kalyani and the Chandragiri.
The hill is about 470 feet above the ground. and is one solid rock and about 500 steps have been cutout in the rock. There is the Brahmadevaru temple atop the hill. Besides there are the Chowwisa Thirthankara Basadi, Chennana Basadi, Odegal Basadi, Tyagada Brahmadevaru Kambha, Akhanda Bagilu and Gullakayajji.
The most important monument is the image of Sri Gomateshwara . It is nude and stands erect facing the north. This monolithic image is carved beautifully with accurate sense expression and there are curly hairs over the head. It appears as though it is an ant hill and creepers encircle the things up to the waist. The image is simple, gigantic but majestic. It is about 57 feet high. There is no monolithic image of this height in the whole world.
In the opinion of Ferguson "Nothing grander or more imposing exists anywhere out of Egypt and even there no known statue surpasses its height".
The image was got installed by Chavundaraya , the Minister of the Ganga King Rachamalla Sathyavakya , in 988 A.D. according to the inscription.
In consideration of the supreme importance the Government of Karnataka constituted a committee known as the Gomateshwara Research Committee with the Director of Geology as its Chairman. Preservation of the image contact was their main task and they have accomplished that laudable task.
The Central Department of Archeology is responsible for its protection as a National Monument.
Numerous visitors arrive at Shravanabelagola to gaze at this and other monuments. But the most important occasion on which several thousands of persons from all over India passes through this place is at the time of " Mahamasthakabhisheka ".
As the name suggests it is the anointing ceremony of the image; usually the auspicious occasion coincides once in 12 years.
According to Jain tradition Gomateshwara is not a mere monolithic image. He is regarded as Jain saint and in fact is the symbolical expression of Bahubali, in fact the image is of Bahubali Swamy, there is a story as to how image was got carved.
Purudeva was the first Thirthankara. He had two sons by name Bharatha and Bahubali . Once they quarreled amongst themselves for the sake of kingdom. In that fight Bahubali succeeded. But he was overcome by grief and shame of seeing his defeated brother. His mind was transformed. He renounced the Kingdom in favour of his brother and retired to penance and attained Kevalagnana and Bharatha got his image erected in Paudanapura . After several years ant hills and serpents covered the hill. He came to be recognized as Kukkuteshwara . Only the pious could see the image. In course of time Chavundaraya who had heard of the story resolved to have an image of the same description installed on the hill at Shravanabelagola. He accordingly discharged an arrow to the top of Indragiri and the figure of Gomateshwara flashed. The image was got carved under the supervision of a sage by name Arishtanemi .
It is to such an image is associated a good deal of traditional sanctity and the "Mahamasthakabhisheka" is performed. Just on the eve of the ceremony scaffolding will be got constructed to help the priests and devotees to go up and offer worship. Worship will be offered according to Jain Agama . Just in front of the image will be placed articles of worship with 1008 pots filled with sacred water and coloured in ceremonious manner. After sacred bath with milk and ghee is over the priests arrange for the great Abhisheka. Under the guidance of the Holy Swamiji, the priests pour 1008 pots of sacred water over the image simultaneously by chanting Mantras. Then they pour Milk, Curds, Ghee, Sugar, Almonds, Gold flowers and Silver flowers; wealthy devotees offer bids for the Kalasas, to obtain them and take the rare privilege of performing Abhisheka.
It has become customary to offer the first chance of worship to the Ruler of Mysore who is held in great reverence. This ceremony is a rare one and it is arranged for the peace and prosperity of mankind.
Just opposite to the Vindhyagiri a small hill is situated. Steps have been cut out in this hill and the ascent is not different. There are seven monuments of interest. They are;
The Cave of Bhadrabahu:
The sacred feet of Sritakavalli are being worshipped even now. It is said that Chandragupta Maurya worshipped those sacred feet till his last days.
Kuge Brahmadevara Kambha:
At the top of the pillar is seated the image of Brahma over it.
To the north of Shantinatha Basadi.
A beautiful pillar with image of Jain seated in a small mantap with Gopuram. It is believed that this pillar was constructed in the 17th century by a Jain merchant by name Puttaiah.
This is situated to the left of Parshwanatha Basadi and in fact this is the biggest of all the Basadis on this hill. Here one finds the image of Adinatha Thirthankara and also of Pampavathi in the Kaisale.
It is situated to the north of Kattalae Basadi. This is perhaps the smallest of all the Basadis. The beautiful workmanship of architecture found in this monument relates to the 12th century.
Because of the inscription in front of it, it is called like that. It has got a Garbhagruha, Sukhanasi and Navaranga. All are dedicated to the worship of Adinatha and Gomukha and Chakreshwari, the Yaksha and Yakshi.
Dedicated to worship of Ananthanatha, the 14th Thirthankara.
Located to the west of Shasana Basadi, it is dedicated to the worship of the Eighth Thirthankara, Chandraprabha. The images of Shyama and Jwalamalini, Yaksha and Yakshi are to be found.
Seven headed serpent is carved over the head of the image.
This Basadi is said to have been got constructed in 982 A.D. by Chavundaraya as per inscription. It is dedicated to the worship of Neminatha Swamy, the 22nd Thirthankara. The monument reveals workmanship of the Ganga and the Hoysala periods. This is constructed as the most beautiful of all the Basadis.
It is located opposite to the Chavundaraya Basadi. The image of Adinatha is found inside with Yaksha and Yakshi.
It is dedicated to the worship of Shanthinatha, the 16th Thirthankara. It is seen from the inscription on the pedestal of the image that this Basadi was got constructed by Shanthaladevi, the queen of Vishnuvardhana, in 1123 A.D.
Tyerina Basadi: Resembling a Ratha.
Iruve Brahmadevara Temple:
The image of Brahma is carved out of a solid rock on a miniature scale.
Kanchina Pond and Lakki Pond: These are ponds.
Some other important temples are;
The Bhandara Basadi:
Dedicated to the worship of 24 Thirthankaras. It is named after Treasure of Hoysala king Narasimha. It has got garbhagruha, Sukanasi and navaranga. The image in Indian dancing pose is beautifully carved.
Dedicated to the worship of Parshwanatha, it is constructed in Hoysala style. There is beautiful architecture inside the temple.
In this Basadi located to the west of the enclosure to Akkana Basadi were secured books relating to the Jain Sidhantha, in a dark room.
It is interesting to note that round about Shravanabelagola there are beautiful monuments of Hoysala style particularly in Jinanathapura and Kambadahalli .
The monuments of Shravanabelagola are a display of artistic excellence, architectural genius and intense devotion to religion. A visit to Shravanabelagola will reveal the grandeur and beauty of art and architecture of the distant past. They stand prominent as ennobling edifices and enliven the career of the artist, the devotee and the historian, who will grudge acknowledging that these monuments are living testimonies symbolizing the neatness of our nation in the fields of art, architecture and administration.
||146 km from Bangalore.
Distance from Hassan city: 51 kms.
Distance from Channarayapatna: 13 kms.
|By Road: -
NH-4 (Bangalore-Pune National Highway)
|When to go:-
||Any time round the year.
||KSTDC(bookings and info) Badami House, NR Square, Bangalore Tel: 080-2275869, Fax: 2352626 Email: email@example.com
|Where to stay :-
Hotel Yatri Nivas
Ph: 08176- 257923
Ph: 08176- 257258 & 257293
VIP Guest House,
Ph: 08176- 257277
Ph: 08176- 57258
A good number of Hotels are also available at Channarayapatna (13 kms from Shravanabelagola). It is suggested to stay at Hassan.