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Gomateshwara Shravanbelagola


  Shravanabelagola is located 51 km south east of Hassan in Karnataka at an Altitude of about 3350 feet above sea level. There are excellent roads from Bangalor and Mysore. The nearest airport is Banglore which at a distance of 157 km. and the nearest railway station is Hassan. Shravanabelagola is wedged between two rocky hills - the Vindyagiri and the Chandragiri. ;

  The statue of Lord Gommateshwara

 The colossal rock cut statue of  saint Gommata at Shravanabelagola is the most magnificent among all Jaina works of art.  It was built in circa 982 AD and is described as one of the mightiest achievements of ancient Karnataka in the realm of sculptural art. Also referred to as Lord Bahubali, the image is nude an stands upright in the posture of meditation known as kayotsarga, reaching a height of 17.38 meter (58 ft) atop the Vindyagiri of Doddabetta hills accessible through a flight of 500 steps.

 The image of Gommata has curly hair in ringlets and long, large ears. His eyes are open as if viewing the world with detachment. His facial features are perfectly chiseled with a faint touch of a smile at the corner of his lips and  embody calm vitality. His shoulders are broad, his arms stretch straight  down and the figure has no support from the thigh upwards

 There is an anthill in the background which signifies his incessant penance. From this  anthill emerge a snake and a creeper which twine around both his legs and his arms culminating as a cluster of flowers and berries at the upper portion of the arms. The entire figure stands on an open lotus signifying the totality attained in installing this unique statue.


       Bahubali Stamp

  On either side of Gommata stand two tall and majestic chauri bearers in the service of the Lord. One of them is a yakshi and the other one is a yakshi. These richly ornamented and beautifully carved figures complement the main figure. Carved on the rear side of the anthill is also a trough for collecting water and other ritual ingredients used for the sacred bath of the image. Around the statue is an enclosure of a pillared hall where one can find 43 images of tirthankaras in different cloisters. There is also a figure of a woman called Gullikayajji sculpted with a good built and wearing exquisite ornamentation, typical of the sculptures of the Ganga period. The Akandabagilu or the massive door, carved out of a single rock with an elaborately carved Gajalakshmi in her typical posture flanked by two elephants, is another meritorious work of Jain craftsmanship.

 This also said to have been under the guidance and inspiration of Chaundaraya, the illustrious minister who served under the successive rulers of the Gangas namely Marasimha II, Rachamalla IV and Rachamalla V. One of the   largest temples in the area is the Chaundarya Basadi dedicated to Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara depicted under a seven hooded canopy and flanked by male chauri bearers. This temple is unique in its style. It belongs to the era of the western Gangas and is evolved out of the Chalukyan styles at Badami and Aihole. One the same hill can be seen the Chandraprabha Basadi dedicated to the 8th tirthankara by the same name. It is one of the oldest basadis on the hill and can be assigned to the early 9th century under the reign of Sivamara, a Ganga king.

  While at Sravana Belgola one can also gain insights into Jaina mythology through some of the finest paintings depicted on the walls of the Sri Jains matha. Rich in colours and harmonious in composition, these paintings of the 18th century depict royal processions and festivities, monks, women in brightly coloured  sarees, forest scenes of wild animals and other topics that shed light on the domestic, religious and social life of the people

  Another concrete expression of the intensity of Jaina art is the Sthambha, the free standing pillar in front of every basadi. Elegantly carved out of granite, these are classified as Brahmadeva Sthambha and Manasthambha. While the former portrays the figures of Brahmanical gods, the latter is depictive of Jaina faith. Manasthambha pillars can be found elsewhere in the country but the Brahmadeva pillars are restricted to the South, a fine specimen of which can be found in front of the gigantic statue of Gommata at Sravanbelagola. Extremely attractive is the Manasthambha at Mudabidri with a small shrine at the apex surrounded by four bells and topped with a gold finial. Such pillars at Karkala and Humcha are equally eye-catching. All these pillars, irrespective of their connotations, are exquisite  pieces of art, elegance and decoration. Another pillar of immense interest is the Tyagada Brahmadevara Kamba at Sravana Belgola where Chaundaraya has  inscribed his genealogy and his life time achievements. Only segments of  the inscription are readable.

   Bili-gola (white pond)

  Bili-gola (white pond) nestling between the two hills, became Belgola, and consistently used between 650 A.D. and 1889 A.D. Shramana or Shravana after Digambar  monks used this place, was added to form Shravanabelagola. Apart froe there are two ponds on Vindhyagiri , three on  Chandragiri, there are ponds or tanks near almost every monument. There is no record of construction of ponds before time of Gangaraja (early 12th cent.). There are 7 temples in the town and — more in Jinanathapura and surrounding areas. The foundation of Jmnanathapura a northern foot of Chandragiri was undertaken by Gangaraja in 1117. The Santivara Basadi located here, is the most ornate of the Hoysala Basadis in Karnataka


 There are inscriptions on the slabs near the right and left foot of the image of Gommatesvara at Sravana BELGOLA. THE INSCRIPTION ON THE RIGHT HAND SLAB IS AS FOLLOWS :
      Sri-Chamundarajam madisidam;
     Sri-Chamundarajan "se" Yv 'v' ittan;
     Sri-Gamgaraja suttalayavam madisida;

 The first two lines record that Chamunda Raja caused to be made the image, at the foot of which the inscription is engraved, and the third line that Gamgaraja caused to be made the buildings which surround the image. There is a verse in Vahuvali Charitra which purports to give the exact date of the establishment of the image. That verse is as follows: 


 That is "Sri Chamunda Raya established the image of Gomatesa in the city of Belgula, in Kumbha Lagna, on a sunday, the fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight, in the month of Chaitra, in the praised yera Vibbhava, in the Kalki age, known as 600, when the auspicious Mrigasirh star was visible."  This date lies between a period 980-984 A.D.

  The present seer of Shravanabelagola 

  The present seer of the Dharmapeetha of Shravanabelagola is Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji. His earlier name was Rathnavarma. He accepted his sainthood when he was 20 years of age. Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji became the seer of the Dharmapeetha of Shravanabelagola on April 19, 1970./p>

   The Mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola

 Mahamastakabhisheka is the great head anointing ceremony of Bahubali have been performed once in every 12 years. The huge statue of Lord Gommateshwara is bathed with thousands of pots of Milk, Ghee, Sandal, Saffron, Flowers etc. The Mahamasthakabisheka attracts huge number of devotees from all over the world. The last Mahamastakabisheka Events was held on February 2006. The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in 2018 A.D.

Shravanabelagola Google map


 Bili-gola (white pond) nestling between the two hills

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