Shravanbelagola – Largest monolithic statue in the world

The hidden wonder of the world – The Shravanabelagola’s story

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Shravanbelagola is a centuries old Jain temple in the state of Karnataka in India. It is about 145 Kilometers from Bengaluru city of Karnataka. It is located in Channaraypatna town of Hassan district of Karnataka. This places was known to be the centres of architectural and sculpture activity during the Western Ganga dynasty of Talakads. 

It is a revered and holy destination for Jain followers till date and thousands of followers make their pilgrimage to this holy pilgrimage. 

Location and how to get there:

Shravanbelagola is near the historical town of Channarayapatna which in itself has a rich history and is located in the district of Hassan. It is at a distance of 11 Kilometers from Channarayapatna and 51 Kilometers from Hassan district center. It is at 83 Kilometers from Mysuru city and 144 Kilometers from Bengaluru.

The best way to get there is to take a flight either to Bengaluru or Mysuru and from there pick a self drive car or rent a cab. The drive to Shravanabelagola is a very pleasant one which is dotted with greenery and some fantastic rocky mountains and boulder hills on the way. There are some wonderful South Indian Restaurants on the way and you should certainly try it out too. I will add more details about it on the names of these places shortly as well.

During the recent Mahamastakabhisheka in February 2018 the government spent considerable effort on access to Shravanabelagola and the roads to the town are quite good.

The places of interest:

Vindhyagiri Mountain: Shravanabelagola is popular for its two holy mountains the Chandragiri and the Vindhyagiri Mountain. On the Vindhyagiri Mountain is the 58 Feet tall Lord Gomateshwara Bahubali’s statue which is revered by the Jains. Every 12 years the Jains observe a Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony in which the lord Bahubali is anointed with Water, Turmeric, Sugar, Milk, Flowers, Haldi and other materials. Vindhyagiri is a steep mountain which requires about 30 minutes of climb. The temple association also provides Dolies for people to be able to go up in case they are unable to climb up. The statue is a historical wonder considering it was built over a thousand years ago!

The statute is a wonder in itself and mesmerising. It amazes you as to how did the people of that time build this wonderful statue at such a height! The statue surprisingly looks absolutely new and the ravages of sun and rain has not eroded the sharpness of the features of the statue.

Chandragiri Mountain: The other mountain is the Chandragiri Mountain whch has rich Jain heritage and sculpture. It is a smaller mountain than that of Vindhyagiri mountain and is visited along with the Chandragiri Mountain. There are various small temples on Chandragiri mountain devoted to various thirthankaras of Jains and is a must visit as well. Chandragupta Mayura the popular Mayura dynasty king and father of King Ashoka came here for penance in his last years and died in 298 BCE. There is a cave here where he is believed to meditate.

The Market: Shravanagelagola is a small town and has an interesting market around the town especially below the Vindhyagiri mountain. Here you can certainly purchase religious items and local made apparel. Do not miss out on the fresh local coconut water!

Places to eat: While there are many places to eat here, I would highly recommend the “Raghu” Restaurant which is just near the entrance of the Vindhyagiri Mountain

Places to live: There are many guest houses in Shravanabelagola. The office at Vindhyagiri mountain can help you with some names. I would highly recommend the ‘Assam Bhavan’ guesthouse

The history of Shravanabelagola:

Lord Bahubali is the son of Lord Rishabnath who was the first Jain Tirthankara.

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