Karnataka Shravana Belgola Temple
|Location||Hassan District in Karnataka|
|Built in||3 Century B.C|
|Also known as||Lord Bahubali, Lord Gomatheeswara|
|Primary deity||Lord Gomatheeswara|
|Important festivals||Mahamastakabhisheka festival|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian style of architecture|
The Hassan district found in the state of Karnataka is known for its several temples which attract tourists from different parts of the world. The Shravanabelagola temple is a sacred place for the Jains and is known for the majesty of Lord Gomatheeswara. It is among the holiest places of the Jain community and attracts millions of devotees throughout the year.
Shravanabelagola word has a literal meaning ‘the white pond of Sravana’ as ‘bel’ refers to white and ‘kola’ refers to pond in Kannada. There is an amazing pond in the town, which proves its name to be true. One more legend has it that the name was because of an old woman who had poured the milk, she was carrying in a ‘gullakayi’ over the deity which anointed him every day. Now the Lord Gomatheeswara’s image being anointed with milk has become a popular sight worldwide.
Shravanabelagola is situated at a distance of 13 km from the south-east of Channarayapatna in the Hassan district’s Channarayapatna taluk in Karnataka. It is located at 51 km distance, south-east of Hassan. It is found at a 12 km distance from the Bangalore-Mangalore road (NH-48), and is 78 km from Halebidu, while 89 km away from Belur, and 157 km away from Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka.
Shravanabelagola comprise of two hills, Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri.Acharya Bhadrabahu along with his pupil Chandragupta Maurya used to meditate there. Chandragupta Basadi, found in dedication of Chandragupta Maurya, was constructed originally by Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. The Chandragiri also comprise of memorials to several monks or Śrāvakas who did their meditation since the 5th century AD, which also included the last ruler of the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Manyakheta. Chandragiri is having a popular temple constructed by Chavundaraya, who was the pupil of Nemichandra.
There is a 57-feet high monolithic statue of Gommateshvara found on Vindyagiri Hill and is regarded as the world's largest monolithic statue of stone. The base of the statue consists of inscriptions in Kannada and is the oldest proof of written Marathi, or devnagari script, which dates back to 981 AD. The inscription appreciates the ruler who funded the effort and also Chavundaraya, his general who erected the statue for his mother. After every twelve years, millions of devotees gather here to perform Mahamastakabhisheka, a spectacular ceremony when the statue is covered with curds, milk, ghee, gold coins and saffron. The next Mahamastakabhisheka is to be held in 2018.
The Shravanabelagola Gomatheeswara statue is the biggest monolithic idol of the world. It has seen centuries with several dynasties and kings ruling and adding their contributions and is a living historical proof of last millennia. The historians refer to the idol of the Lord as both munificent and magnificent–both graceful and beautiful.
It is an impossible blend of beauty and serenity that gives the Shravanabelagola a unique identity.It stands 57 feet high and embraces a life of ahimsa and peace i.e. non-violence.
How to Reach
Shravanabelagola is at a distance of 146 km from Bangalore,57 km from Hassan and just 11 km away from Channarayapatna.
Bangalore is the closest airport and flights from different parts of the country can be availed to Bangalore from where one can get a taxi or a bus to the shrine.
The Hassan railway station is nearby Shravanbelagola whereas the Bangalore railway station is 157 km away
This place has a well connected road network from all significant towns of Karnataka state. One can avail buses from Bangalore, Mysore and Hassan but they are not direct. From Bangalore, one can get a taxi or take a bus reaching directly to the shrine.
In Jainism, Bahubali refers to great strength, sacrifice and power. This statue is amidst the tallest and worldwide known statues of Jains.In the Jain community, Bahubali does not only refers to a figure but he is considered to be a great saint.
Besides the statue, there are 14 other Jainism shrines located on the hills of Chandragiri. One can see statues of all the 24 Tirthankaras of Jains as well as that of the great king, Chandragupta Maurya, who was also buried there. The ideal time to visit this place is during the festival of Mahamastakabhisheka.
Significance of the Temple
Bahubali, as the Jains refers to the Lord Gomatheeswara, provides the path to eternal happiness by giving help to manhood and live a life attuning to the natural world and not giving any harm to any living being. The Jains have a belief that Bahubali is having great qualities which inspire renunciation, and attain salvation and enlightenment.
After every twelve years Jains from different parts of the world gather here for the Mahamastakabhisekha when Lord is adorned with millions of liters of milk, ghee, curd and saffron as well as gold coins. The last one was held in 2006 and so the next would be organized in 2018.
Festivals and Fairs
Mahamastakabhisheka: This occasion of 17.38m high statue of Lord Bahubali (Gomateshwar) at the Indragiri Hills is being celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm after every 12 years. At this occasion, this statue is smeared with a number of pots of coconut oil, bananas, yoghurt, jaggery, ghee, dates, poppy seeds, almonds, milk, sandalwood and saffron.
Timings and other Important Information
Entry Fees: Free
Guide Charges: Rs 200/-
Weather and Time to Visit
Sravanabelagola comprises of a pleasant climate during winters and warm climate in summers.
- The summers start in March and last till May and have a highest temperature of 37°c while a minimum of 24°C.Tourists should avoid visiting this place in May as it is the hottest summer month.
- Monsoons begin from June until September offering medium to heavy rains which makes the atmosphere humid. This hill looks mesmerizing at the times of rains.
- Winters are at peak in during December to February and have pleasant climate of temperature ranging from 19°C to 30°C.
- Sravanabelagola should be visited during October to April and it is in this season that millions of Jain pilgrims come here to visit the temple.
- Tourists should avoid visiting in the month of May because it is the hottest month. Local people visit the shrine during this period.
- The period from June to September offers a beautiful scenery.
The best time for visiting Shravanabelagola Jain Temple is from October to March, when the weather is quite pleasant for exploring the splendor of Shravanabelagola Temple.
One would not face any issues of where to stay in Shravanabelagola, because the small town offers few decent choices for its visitors. There are a number of hotels in which one can check in when in Shravanabelagola, such as Hotel Raghu, Inspection Bungalow, Hotel Yatri Nivas and VIP Guest House. All these hotels offer basic amenities for its visitors.
However, if one is looking for some luxurious and creature comforts then it is suggested to find a place for staying in Hassan, which is just 52kms away from Shravanabelagola.There are a number of good hotels that can be checked in such as Hotel Hassan Ashok, hotel Suvarna Arcade and Kotari Hotel.