Karnataka Today

Jain Kashi Shravanabelagola: Beauty on barren hills

Karnataka is a treasure trove of historical and religious places. From Bidar to Mysuru, and Kasaragod to Kolara, we find a lot of places which showcase the rich culture of the State. Not only the State houses monuments of importance but also mosques, Jain basadis, churches, Buddhist stupas apart from temples among others.

One such of many State’s marvels is Shravanbelagola. Shravanbelagola is one of the most sacred and beautiful places in the whole of State. The place is situated in the Hassan District. Located at 58 kms away from District Headquarters Hassan and 144 kms from State Capital, Bengaluru, thus well-connected through road and rail.

An important Jain piligrimage, here stands 18 metre high statue of Lord Gommateshwar, which infacr is the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statue. It was constructed in 981 A.D by Chavundaraya, warrior from Ganga clan. It is carved out of single granite block and looms on the Vindyagiri Hill, and is visible as far as 30 kms away. One needs to climb as many as 700 steps to reach the hill. This statue stands majestically as a symbol of sacrifice. The surrounding enclosure has images of all the Jain Teerthankaras.

Every 12 years a grand and revered event, Mahamasthakabhisheka takes place at the shrine wherein Jain piligrims and other devotees gather here with reverence. The specially erected scaffolding, priests, devotees pour hundreds of pots of curd, milk, honey, vermillion, coconut water, turmeric paste and even gold and precious jewels over the statue‘s head. It’s a great sight to behold, and pious occasion to be present. The most recent Mahamastakabhisheka was held in 2018.

Coming to Vindyagiri hill, it is a large rocky hill 133 metres above the land and 1002 metres above sea level. Further, it is surrounded with many temples.

Another hill, Chandragiri hill is situated opposite Vindyagiri hill. There are 14 different Jain basadis on top of Chandragiri hill.

There many other places worth visiting around Shravanabelagola such as Beluru and Halebidu, Melukote, KRS Dam, Sakleshpura, Markonahalli Dam, Shettihalli Church among others. Also, Shravanabelagola can be visited and accessed through out the year.

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