Pujyapada, the most revered Jaina muni, chose this hillock for his penance and attained
salvation . He was an eminent scholar, having authored many great works on spiritual subjects and also practised
ayurveda. The inscriptions, engravings of footprints, samadhi mantapas and nishadi caves throw much light on the heritage of the place. These stand as an edifice to the antiquity of the place and also the gamut of Jaina saints who lived here.
There is an interesting story behind the name of the hill. Pujyapada's nephew Nagarjuna, who lived here, was driven to poverty after the death of his father. He undertook rigorous penance in a cave on the hill and acquired the power to convert everything he laid his hands on into gold. Ecstatic with newly found magical powers, he began to convert the entire hill into gold. However Padmavathi Devi, who had granted him the boon, prevented him from the foolish pursuit and ordained that a temple be built there instead. Accordingly, he built the present temple of Sri Parshwanatha on the hill.
It is said that in those days fragments of gold could be seen strewn around the hillock. And it was thus named Kanakagiri or Kanakadri. With the temple having sprung up, it became Athishaya Kshetra Kanakagiri. After the Hoysala kings worshiped here and won a major battle,
they called this Vijaya Parshwanatha. So much for the name. About 370 steps have been cut out from the rock face to enable the devotees to climb up to the shrine. A motorable road is also being laid, side by side, to the top. The flight of steps passing through the arches
leads to the northern entrance of the temple. But the eastern doorway with a well carved stone arch is very attractive.
The sanctum has an attractive three foot image of
Parshwanatha. The images of Kushmandini and Padmavathi Devi are facing each other. A rare feature of the images is that the goddesses are an embodiment of Rahu and Kethu respectively and they are so placed in order to generate a special force, Divyashakthi, between them which can eliminate the ill-effects of Rahu and
Kethu, known as Kalasarpa Dosha. It is only here that Rahu and Kethu face each other and nowhere else. Many people troubled by planetary effects visit the place. Even Queen Deveerammanni from Mysore visited the temple to find a solution to her problems and once her problems were solved, she presented a specially made snakehood with the figures of
Dharanendra and Padmavathi to the temple.
A walk behind the temple takes one to Nagarjuna
Gufa, the cave where he penanced. The pond nearby has fresh water all through the year and this water is used for abhisheka in the temple. The entire rocky terrain of the hill is punctuated by small, pink coloured cells with the footprints of Jain Thirthankaras. There are 24 of them in all, spread out on the hill, and it is a
pleasure to stroll along the neatly made path that leads to each of these lovely structures. In the centre is a rather large mantapa which has the feet of
Pujyapada. The view from the top of the hill is panoramic.
Down at the base of the hillock, the math serves free meals as prasada for all the visitors everyday. Under the patronage of Swasthishree Bhuvanakeerthi Bhattaraka
Swamiji, besides good facilities for pilgrims, many a social service is being rendered to society like the free ayurvedic hospital, care of orphan children, maintaining a goshala with 25 cows, running a school in Chamarajanagar and Sri Jain Education Society in Mysore.
Maleyuru village is situated in Chamarajanagar district and is about 3 Kms away from
Kanakagiri. However it bears a very close and inseparable relationship with Kanakagiri. It was once one of the important Jain centres in the world. It was well known for its sandalwood and rich forestry around it. It is said that princess Jevandara attained sainthood at the behest of Lord Mahavira on his visit to the place. Many saints undertook deep penance and attained Kevala Jnana and salvation atop the hill. Supratishta Munivarya of Suryapura and Jnanachandra Munivarya preached here to the devotees and thus propagated the principles of Jaina religion. They were endowed with anantha jnana, anantha sukha and anantha