- Serene Shravanbelagola, literally meaning the ‘Monk of the White Pond’ is one of the oldest and most important Jain pilgrim centres in the country.
- Its antiquity dates back to 297 B.C., when Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan Empire renounced his kingdom and came here along with his guru, Bhagwan Bhadrabahu Swami, to become a Jain ascetic.
- He led a recluse life and breathed his last at the Chandragiri hill, which is named after him.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Bengaluru International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR), 157 kms away from Shravanbelagola city.
- Rail: Hassan Railway Station, Hassan, 52 kms away from Shravanbelagola city.
- Road: Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
ATTRACTIONS OF SHRAVANBELAGOLA
- Gomteshwara Temple:
- Temple atop the 470 feet high Indragiri hill is dedicated to Lord Gomteshwara or Bahubali, the younger son of Jain emperor and the first Jain tirthankra, Vrishaba Deva (Adinath).
- It is world renowned for the 58 feet and 8 inches tall sculpture of the Jain sage Gomateswara, which is regarded as the tallest monolith in Asia.
- Splendidly sculpted monolith is set in the middle of the temple courtyard encircled by a gallery enshrining the images of various Jain tirthankars.
- It was carved out of a single black of granite by sculptor Aristenemi in 981 A.D. and installed in 983 A.D. by Chamundaraya, a powerful minister of Ganga king, Rajamalla IV.
- Statue stands upright in the posture of meditation known as kayotsarga, indicating perfect self-control and its nakedness suggests complete renunciation of worldly things.
- It has curly hairs, long and large ears and eyes are open, gazing at the world with detachment.
- Perfectly chiselled facial features with serene smile embody calm vitality.
- Figure has no support from the thighs upwards and shows an ant hill growing in the background and creepers and snake emerging from it.
- Intricately carved creepers entwined on the legs and arms of the figure, culminate as a cluster of flowers and berries at the upper portions of the arms.
- Image is shown standing on a beautifully carved lotus pedestal.
- Sacred shrine is accessible by a flight of 641 rock-cut steps.
- One can also hire a doli or chair to reach the shrine.
- On the way up, there are a number of Jain bastis or temples.