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Sravanabelagola :: City Information

Best Travel Duration

October to March

History of Sravanabelagola

Sravanabelagola, a great centre for Jain culture is situated at a distance of about 100 kms from Mysore and is famous for the colossal statue of Gomateshwara who is also referred to as Lord Bahubali. Carved out of a monolithic stone, the imposing 17 metre high statue of Gomata stands in majestic splendour and is visible even from a distance of 20 kms. Starkly simple, the brilliantly chiseled features of the statue personify tranquility. His perfect lips are turned out at the corners with a hint of a smile, viewing the world with indifference.

Sravanabelagola means 'the monk on the top of the hill' and hermits, mystics and ascetics have journeyed and lived there since at least the third century BC. In those early times the hill was thickly wooded and hermits could feed themselves from the forest. In the mid-tenth century AD temples began to be built and the site grew to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Jain religion.
The hill of Sravanabelagola, (also called Vindhyagiri or Per-kalbappu), looms majestically at 3347 feet above sea level. From the base a flight of 614 steps, finely carved from the granite of the mountain, leads to the summit, where a great statue of Sri Gomatheswar stands. At 58 feet 8 inches high, it is the tallest freestanding statue in the world. You must climb barefoot, which poses a problem when the granite heats up, so make sure u get there early.

 

Places to Visit at Sravanabelagola

Lord Gomateshwara

Description: Lord Gomateshwara

The monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, a Jain saint and an object of worship since centuries, standing atop one of the hills (Indragiri hill), is 18 meters high and is said to be one of the tallest and most graceful monolithic statues in the world. Chamundaraya, a general and minister of the Ganga, King Rachamatta, created the symmetry in stone around 978 AD.

Mahamastakabhisheka

 

The Mahamastakabhisheka festival, an elaborate ritual, held here once every 12 years, the last one in 1993, attracts devotees from all over the world. Priests climb up to pour pots of coconut water, turmeric paste, and vermilion powder over the statue's head. The statue is nude and possesses all the tranquillity demanded of most Buddhist and Jain art. The extent of the saint's withdrawal from the outside world is indicated from the swirling creepers climbing his arms and legs, and the anthills and snakes at his feet.

Gomateshwara

 

Gomateshwara, son of the first Tirthankara and a saint in his own right, is shown standing on a lotus. His finely carved features proclaim the craftsman's attention to detail, but his proportions seem unnatural. His shoulders are outsized and his arms are elongated, in severe contrast to his shortened legs.

Bhandari Basti

 

The Bhandari Basti, to the east of the steps at the base of the Chandragiri Hill, houses a shrine containing the images of the 24 tirthankaras. Hullamaya, the treasurer of the Hoysala king Narasimha, built it in 1159. A high wall surrounds the temple, forming an enclosure that contains, among other things, a well. Two mandapa (colonnaded hall leading up to the sanctum of a temple) hallways, in which you can sometimes see naked Digambara Jains in discussion with other devotees clad in white lead to the shrine. The pillars in the outer mandapa have carvings of female musicians, and the entrance to the inner navranga hallway is bedecked with carvings of mythical creatures.

Chamundaraya Basti

 

Chamundaraya Basti built in AD 982 has 14 shrines marking the burial place of the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta and is the most significant of the Dravidian style temples.

How to Get to Sravanabelagola

By Air:

 

The nearest airport is at Bangalore, 150 kms away.

By Rail:

 

The nearest railhead is at Hassan, 52 kms away.

By Road:

 

Regular buses ply from Hasan, Mysore (80 kms) and Bangalore.