Shravana Belagola - Lord Gomateshwara (Bahubali) Jain Temple
One of the most popular Jain temples in India is situated at Shravana Belagola, Karnataka. Two sacred hills dedicated to Sri Gomateswara, also known as Bahubali, son of the first Tirthankara.
The hills of Shravanabelagola namely Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri are the well noted places of pilgrimage for the Jains.
The large hill of Shravanabelagola, also called Vindhyagiri or Per-kalbappu, is 3347 feet above sea level. A flight of 614 steps, leads to the summit, where stands an open court and the great statue of Sri Gomatheswar. Shravana belagola means 'the monk on the top of the hill' and hermits, mystics and ascetics have resided here since at least the 3rd century BC. The 58 foot, 8 inch statue of Sri Gomateswar, carved between 978-993 AD, out of the granite bedrock of the mountain is the tallest free-standing statue in the world. In 998 AD, Chamundaraya installed the image. He was Ganga King Rachamalla Sathyavakya’ minister.
Sri Gomatheswara, also known as Bahubali, was the son of the legendary first Tirthankara, Adinatha (tirthankaras are the mythical, enlightened sages of Jainism). He had a step-brother named Bharata. After the renunciation of father, the two sons, Bharata and Bahubali, get two different regions of the Rishabha’s kingdom to rule over. Bharata soon began to subdue the various principalities around him, and even wanted his brother Bahubali and ninety eight others to submit to him. All except Bahubali gave up their kingdoms and became monks. Bahubali alone refused to surrender. So Bharata challenged Bahubali on the battlefield and engaged him in duel. As Bahubali was about to overpower Bharata, he suddenly realized the absurdity of pride in physical victory and gave up the fight and became a monk and began to perform various penances as a Jain Sramana.
He steadfastly observed penance in a Kayotsakga pose braving the rigors of sun, rain and storm. The beasts of the Jingle attacked him. Ants built their little mounds at his feet. Serpents crawled up his legs. Creepers sprang up and entangled his body. But undeterred he remained firm in his resolve to attain liberation and finally achieved enlightenment. The gaint statue showcase the Bahubali's penance scene.
Mahamastakabhisheka and Belagola story:
The pratishthapana mahotsava, the consecration ceremony, of the great Gommateswara image took place on Sunday, 13th March, 981 from 3.12 a.m. to 5.06 p.m. Among the many rituals in the consecration ceremony there is the abhisheka or the sacred bath. According to a legend, when Chamundaraya attempted to perform the ‘panchamrita-abhisheka’ ceremony, poured from a great scaffolding upon the head of the image they would not descend below the navel of the image. He tried again and again but failed. Then a celestial nymph Kushmandini appeared disguised as an old poor woman, holding the five liquids in a small silver pot a beliya gola – and declared that she would accomplish what the valiant commander had failed to achieve. She poured the contents of her small silver pot, and lo, the sacred liquid at once flowed down and completely bathed the image miraculously!. From that time the town came to be known as Beliya gola, the silver pot or a tank of pure water, and the head-anointing ceremony, Mahamastakabhisheka was performed periodically.
The last Mahamastakabhisheka was held in 2006 and is scheduled next in 2018.
The place where Chandragupa Maurya breathed his last is named as Chandragiri (Chikkabetta). There are several monuments and Basadis' present here which are dates back to 9th century.
Shravanabelagola Temple Images
Sri Bahubali Gomateshwara temple on Vindhyagiri hill
Temple and the 58 feet high statue
Kayotsakga (in penance) posture of Gomatheshwar
Holy feet of Sri Gomateshwara
Devotees pouring holy waters during Mahamastakabhisheka
Devotees collecting abhisheka items, touched the body of lord
Pleasant and beautiful Pushkarini down at Chandragiri hill
The hills of Shravanabelagola is a noted place of pilgrimage for the Jains
The 58 foot, 8 inch statue of Sri Gomatheswar, carved between 978-993 AD
Vindhyagiri, Chandragiri hills have number of Jain monuments
A flight of 614 steps, leads to the summit of Vindhyagiri hill
A magnificent water tank - Kalyani Pushkarini
Sri Gomateswara, also known as Bahubali, was the son of first Tirthankara
Bahubali steadfastly observed penance in a Kayotsakga pose
Mahamastakabhisheka - Head-anointing ceremony held once in 12 years
Where is Shravana Belagola
Shravana Belagola town is located in Channarayapatna Taluk, Hassan district of Karnataka state, India - 573135.
How to Reach
Nearest Town: Hassan - 50km
Distance From: Bangaluru - 144 km, Mangaluru - 220 km, Mysuru - 84 km
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Nearest Bus Station: Shravanabelagola
Nearest Railway Station: Shravanabelagola, Hassan
Where to Stay
The Shravanabelagola Kshetra committee provides accommodation. phone: +91-8176257258. Apart from that couple budget hotels available in the town. The better option is Hassan town, which posses luxury hotels.
What to Eat
Jain food is available at Shravana belagola. They mainly serv dhal, roti, rice, sambhar and buttermilk. the Jain food items are prepared without using onion. Hassan town is the better option for variety of restaurants.
Festivals / Events
Mahamastakabhisheka is an event that is organized every 12 years is celebrated here. Coconut milk, curd, jaggery, bananas, poppy seeds, milk, saffron and sandalwood is used to anoint saint Gomatheswara’s body. Then next event is scheduled in 2018.