At a distance of 140 Kms from Bangalore, 50 Kms from Hassan & 83 Kms from Mysore, Shravanabelagola is one of the most popular Jain pilgrimage center in South India. This place is named after the pond in middle of the town (Bela-Kola means White Pond). This is one of the popular 2 day trip from Bangalore and a major heritage / historical site not to miss in a Karnataka tour packages.
Shravanabelagola is famous for the Bahubali Statue which is supposed to be the tallest monolithic stone statue in the world with a height of 58 feet carved out of a single block of granite. The Gomateswara temple is built on top of a hill at an altitude of 3347 feet, called as Vindhyagiri hill (also known as Doddabetta or Indragiri). About 620 steps provide access to this temple from bottom of the hill. The nude statue of Bahubali is carved carefully with much perfection.
Lord Gomateshwara (Lord Bahubali) was son of the first Jain tirthankara named Lord Adinatha. Lord Adinatha had 99 other sons and when he renounced his kingdom, there was a big fight between the two brothers, Bahubali and Bharatha, over the kingdom. Bharatha lost this battle, but Bahubali did not feel any happiness on seeing his brother’s defeat. He then gave the kingdom to his brother and then attained Kevalagnana.
The statue was carved during the period of Chamundaraya, a minister of the Ganga King Rajamalla between 982 and 983 CE. The town of Shravanabelagola is famous with several Jain temples and historical sites.
Shravanabelagola is famous for two hills called Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri where most of the monuments are located. These two hills are spread on both sides of Temple Pond. There are several historical basadis within the town as well. The main temple of Gomateswara is located on Vindhyagiri hill along with Odegal Basadi, Tyagada Kamba, Siddhara Basadi, Chennanna Basadi, Akhanda Bagilu, etc. Chandragiri is home for about 14 shrines among which Chamundaraya Basadi, Chandragupta Basadi, Chandraprabha Basadi, Kattale Basadi and Parshwanatha Basadi are important.
It usually takes one full day to visit all the historical monuments in Shravanabelagola. For those who can’t trek the hill, Dolis are available at the entrance of the temple that charge about Rs. 800 including return. Once in 12 years, Shravanabelagola celebrates the Mahamastakabhisheka festival which attracts thousands of devotees and tourists from all over India. The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in Feb 2018.
The great emperor of Mouryan Dynasty Chandragupta Mourya has spent his last days in Shravanabelagola after becoming a follower of Jainism. His grandson Emperor Ashoka has built a basadi for him on Chadragiri hill in 3rd Century BC. There are more than 800 well preserved inscriptions dated between 6th and 19th century in Shravanabelagola.
Accommodation is available in Shravanabelagola with few private lodges and Yatri Nivas. Shravanabelagola is well connected by bus from Bangalore, Mysore & Hassan.