Last year, we had travelled in the tourist bus (KSTDC) to visit the world famous Shravanabelagola Jain temple in Karnataka State. We left at about 7.15 a.m. and reached at 11.15 a.m. after travelling about 160kms away from Bangalore. The volvo bus was convenient and we had no problem.
Shravanabelagola is famous for the gigantic statue of Bahubali, who is also known as Lord Gometeswara. The statue was sculpted with the leadership of Chavundaraya , in 978 to 993 A.D, when he came here with his guru in search of peace, towards the end of his life.
The main attraction of this place is this magnificent statue, which measures about 57 feet in height, and is said to be the largest statue Asia sculpted out of a monolith. It is carved out of one single stone, standing as a symbol of renunciation, calm and peaceful. To get a closer look of this statue one has to climb about 700 steps, cut out in the rocks, to reach atop the hill. The steps are not steepy, and they are provided with handrails on both sides, which makes the climbing easier. The aged people and those who cannot climb the steps can take the help of palanguin to be carried up and down, for a reasonable charge.To our luck, though it was summer, for about two hours the weather was cloudy and we were able to climb the steps at about 11.30 a.m.
Shravanabelagola town is located in between two lofty hills, named Vindyagiri and Chandragiri. The landscape around this place is greener and fertile looking. From the top of the hill one can see a huge pond in the centre, which is called ‘belagola’ and hence this town got the name.
There are other temples also on the top,such as Brahmadevaru temple, Chowwisa Thirthankara Basadi, Chennana Basadi, Odegal Basadi, Tyagada Brahmadevaru Kambha, Akhanda Bagilu and Gullakayajji.
Mahamastakabhisheka, the grand festival of this temple, is celebrated once in 12 yhears, lasting for several days, which attracts huge number of devotees from all over the world. Using a erected ladder to reach the statue, it is bathed by pots or kalashas of holy water, ghee, milk, coconut water and haldi, and at the end the statue is showered with flowers. The last Mahamastakabhisheka festival was celebrated in 2006.
One has to leave the slippers down before climbing the steps.
There were no good hotels nearby. One has to go to Hassan, which is just few miles away, to find good hotels. Those interested in history and archeology will also find much to see.