Location: Hassan, Karnataka, India
Historical Importance: Pilgrimage spot for Jains
Deity or any other importance: The statue of Gomateshwara Bahubali
Nearby places: Bhandari Basti, Chandragupta Basti, Jain Matha and Chandragiri Hills
Add more relevant heads (if any):In a recent nation-wide poll, Sravanabelagola was voted as the first of the ‘Seven Wonders of India’.
Situated about 150 km from the northwest part of Bangalore, Sravanabelagola is of huge importance for Jains because of the monolithic statue of ‘Lord Gomateshwara’ that it houses. Sravanabelagola is located in the Hassan district of Karnataka. The statue of ‘Lord Gomateshwara’ or ‘Bahubali’ is the world’s tallest statue of the Jain saint, Lord Gomateshwara. It was built under the patronage of the West Ganga Dynasty of Talakad. The statue epitomizes the architectural and sculptural activity of the Jains, which was at its peak during the reign of the Gangas. The statue is located at the summit of the Sravanabelagola hill, which is 3347 feet above the sea level. The city of Sravanabelagola gained significance in the 3rd century B.C. when Chandragupta Maurya abandoned his kingdom and riches, and roamed about in search of peace and salvation. It was in Sravanabelagola that Chandragupta took his last breath and the West Ganga Dynasty built this huge monolithic statue in his remembrance.
Things To Do
- Sight-seeing — the most popular sight here is the colossal and the world’s tallest statue of Lord Gomateshwara.
- Outdoor Activities — outdoor activities are limited to climbing up the beautiful hill of Indragiri, where the Gomateshwara monolith is located. Some other hills include the Chandragiri hills. The place is ideal for nature walks because of the hills and the breathtaking sight of sunrise and sunset which can be witnessed from the top. Almost all these hills have steps to climb up, as most of them happen to house some important and exquisite Jain temples.
The colossal statue of Gomateshwara has a huge religious implication and makes Sravanabelagola one of most important pilgrimage centers for the Jains. The statue was sanctified by Chavundaraya, the Prime Minister of the Talakad Ganga Kingdom in 981 A.D. It is carved out of a single piece of granite, standing at a towering 57 feet on the crest of Indragiri hill. The word ‘Sravanabelagola’ means ‘white pond of Shravana’.
Sravanabelagola is a town of ponds and temples and bears testimony to the exemplary Jain art, culture and architecture, which existed centuries ago. Apart from the monolith, Sravanabelagola is abode to the largest number of Digamber (naked) Jain shrines and rock inscriptions. More than 800 inscriptions have been discovered, most of which date back to the 10th to 19th century A.D. The languages used in the texts are Kannada, Sanskrit, Konkani, Tamil, Marwari and Mahajani.
Some other attractions in Sravanabelagola include the Bhandari Basti, Chandragupta Basti and Chandragiri Hills. Bhandari Basti is the largest temple at here and is dedicated to the 24 Tirthankars. Bhandari Basti owes its name to Hulla-Raja, (the General of the King Narasimha of the Hoyasala dynasty), who established the temple. Chandragupta Basti was erected in the 9th century A.D. and was named after Chandragupta Maurya; it is believed to have been built by Emperor Ashoka. Akkana Basti is the only temple built in the Hoyasala style of architecture. The temple was raised in 1181 A.D. It has four elegant black stone pillars decked with bead works. There are four more temples which are worth paying a visit, both for their exquisiteness and importance. Another vital place of visit is the Jain Matha, which is the base of the ancient Bhattaraka Matha. The unique ancient paintings represent true tales from the lives of some Tirthankars and the Jain King Nagakumara.
Opposite to the Indragiri Hill is the Chandragiri Hill, home to the momentous Bhadrabahu Basadi and Chandragupta Basadi. It is 200 feet high and has 192 steps to ascend to the hill. The temples on Chandragiri Hill bear Dravidian architectural structures, which date back to the 9th century A.D. The hill also bears the imprints of the historic Bhadrabahu’s feet, a revered Jain monk.
How To Reach
- Sravanabelagola is about 12km from Bangalore–Mangalore highway and lies on the NH 48. The distance from the city of Bangalore is about 160 kilometers. The town is well connected by rail and road.
- A road trip is more pleasant, as you get see the incredible natural scenery that falls on the way.
- The airport of Mangalore is the nearest for air connectivity. Cab services are available both from Mysore and Bangalore. One can also avail bus services from the airport.
- It is advisable for the first time visitors not to avail the local transport, such as auto rickshaws, in order to avoid confusion and hassles while travelling.