Nobody was here for three days holidays except myself and DP. So we planned a one day trip to Shravanabelagola. MuSi also joined with us on Sunday. This time we had two choices: a one day package in KSTDC to Shravanbelagola,Belur, Halebeedu(7 AM to 10PM) AND KSRTC. We went with KSRTC this time. Morning 6:30 AM we left our home and reached Kempe Gowda bus stand at 7:30 AM. We missed the straight bus(7:15 AM) to Shravanabelagola. So the next plan to reach Shravanabelagola was ‘Bangalore -> Channarayapatna -> Shravanabelagola’. We got a Dharmasthala bus going via Channarayapatna. We reached Channarayapatna at 11:00 AM. From Channarayapatna, for every 5 minutes a transit bus is there to Shravanabelagola.
Shravanabelagola is a city in the Hassan district of Karnataka and is around 150 km from Bangalore. It is one of the most important pilgrim sites for Jains in India. The name ‘Shravanabelagola’ means ‘the land of pond’. The town has a pond and is situated between two lofty hills called Chandragiri and Indragiri(also known as ‘Vindyagiri’).
A three-celled temple, 572 steps up, Odegala Basadi has images of the Tirthankaras Adinatha, Neminatha and Santinatha. It’s another 100+ steps to the top of the hill and many structures/basadis(the Jaina word ‘basadi’ or ‘basti’ means simply abode) along the path. Notable amongst them is the figure of Gullakayajji. The main doorway to the temple at the top is called Akhanda-bagilu and it was carved out of a single stone. The door has figures of Bahubali and his brother Bharata. We came at last to the quadrangle where the 57 feet world’s largest monolithic stone statue of the Bhagavan Gomateshwara Bahubali stands. The tiredness of climbing the hill flew away after seeing the peace on his face. All the 24 Tirthankaras carved figures are there in the corridor around the quadrangle.
Chavundaraya-basadi, Kattale-basadi, Kuge Brahmadeva Pillar and an unfinished statue of Bahubali’s brother Bharata(or the working model for the Bahubali statue) are there in Chandragiri. When we reached Chandragiri, it was drizzling and the climate/Vindyagiri’s view from here were awesome. There are 576 inscriptions on the rocks – the most found on a single site in India. They date from the 6th to the 19th centuries and speak of a dozen dynasties including the Gangas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara and Wodeyars. Notable are the signature of Chavundaraya and the title ‘Kaviratna’ denoting the Kannada poet Ranna.
Chavundaraya was a scholar and writer as well as minister of the Ganga king Rachamalla. Jaina legend says that when his mother was told the story of Bahubali she took a vow not to eat or drink until she had seen his famous image at Paudanapura (said to be near Purushapura or Peshawar). Chavundaraya set out with her on the long journey but near the present site Goddess Padmavati appeared to him in a dream. She said the journey was impossible just then but that Bahubali would appear at Vindhyagiri.Next morning, Chavundaraya ascended Chandragiri and shot an arrow towards the bigger hill, where it hit a rock. He had the statue carved out of this monolith. It is conceived as the main figure in an imaginary temple, and set against the sky it is the epitome of the Digambara (‘sky-clad’) Jain ideal.
For more photo’s, Click here.