Shravanabelagola

#1 Jan 3rd, 2006, 12:04
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#1
I have seen pictures of Gomateshwara, and have heard that it is the largest monolithic statue in India. The more pictures I saw, the more I wanted to go to the place to see him for myself.

I had planned Shravanabelagola several times, but it never materialized. Finally we made it, but on the way to Chikmaglur. We visted Belur and Halebid temple complexes as well.

These three places can be visited from Bangalore as a single day excursion.

One can reach Shravanabelagola by road, and the route is simple. Drive from Bangalore – towards Hassan via Nelamangala. After Nelamangala, one has to take a 18 kms detour towards a small village on the left to reach Shravanabelagola.

You will find yourself driving through small villages, paddy fields and the scenery looks beautiful. I remembered that the Gomateshwara temple is on the top of a small hillock, but there were no hillocks at sight. I was wondering, if we were going in the right way. Then suddenly, we saw the statue of Gomateshwara rising high on top of the hillock.

A few hillocs appear in the horizon and one can see a temple at the top. The statue of Gomateshware can be seen as we drive closer to the temple premise.

We left Bangalore at about 7.30 am and we reached Shravanabelagola temple premises at about 9 am.

We parked the car in the parking lot. The scenery around was like that of any other temple town. There were rows of shops for pooja items – flowers, baskets with coconut, agarbathis, betel leaves, saffron, framed photos of the diety and religious books. As Mahavir is the God of the Jains, there were a lot of Jains in the area.

We had a quick breakfast in the nearby restaurant. Idlis are best when you travel. Coffee in these areas is also good, as we are now close to coffee country – Chikmaglur.

We deposited our footwear at the temple entrance. We purchased socks from a local vendor for Rs. 25 per pair. First we thought that it is not going to be of much use. But, we realized that as the time went by, the mountain steps started getting hot like a oven. The socks really helped.

There are 2 hillocks and a pond here - Chandragiri and Indragiri. Chandragiri has the Chandragupta basadi of the Gangas and the Parashwanatha basadi here is the biggest. The town below the hill has the Jaina matha whose walls have very old paintings.

Indragiri has the Gomateshwara monolith, 58' tall, installed by a Ganga general and scholar Chavundaraya, and also Siddhara basadi, Odegal basadi, Chennanna basadi and Chauvvisa Tirthankara basadi, and also the finely engraved pillar called Tyagada Brahma Pillar. The floral designs on it are excellent.

To the north of town is Jinanathapura which has the Aregal basadi and the Shantinatha basadi of Hoysala times.

Shravanabelagola has over 500 inscriptions, and some of them are recording death by starving (`sallekhana') by Jaina ascetics and laymen.

Indragiri has nearly 600 steps to the top, where the Gomateshwara statue is present. These steps are not steep like in the case of Tirupati steps, but, as you go higher, one tends to get tired. There are two sets of steps – one set to go up, and one set to come down.

We started climbing the steps slowly. We decided that we ought to finish the entire thing, climbing up, darshan and climbing down in 1 and half hours. We had to proceed to Halebid and Belur after this.

As we reached a little higher, we could get a complete view of the town below. It looked really beautiful with all the coconut trees and the terracotta tiled roofs on top of the buildings. Right in front of the temple is a small temple tank, and its view with the water and the reflection of the gopuram in the water, looked beautiful. Right in front of this temple, was another hillock - Chandragiri, with temple on top of it. We could see the steps and could see people climbing the stairs. We took a few quick photographs.

We found people of all ages climbing the steps. For old people who cannot climb, there were palanquin bearers, who would take carry you up on a chair for Rs. 150 ( one way ). We saw several old people using this service.

We reached the temple on the top in about 30 mins. We took a little rest as we were running short of breath. The temple had a larger entrance and had huge doors. It has statues of several dieties and several inscriptions in a language I could not understand.

We entered the premise and then the statue of the Gomateshwara appeared in front of us. He was so tall and beautiful. Wonderful features were chiseled on stone by master craftsmen. There were devotees performing puja.

We spend some time, outside the temple, looking at the scenery below the hillock - lots of coconut trees and beautiful fields.

I must say that the temple is being maintained quite well, and I felt glad that at last I could do this trip to see the Gomateshwara.

A special puja is held once in 10 years. At this time, Gomateshwaras statue is bathed with milk, honey, curd, ashes, sweets, ghee and other important ingredients. Special poojas are also performed here during Mahavir Jayanthi.

How to get there :

By Air / Rail : Bangalore ( 157 Kms )

By Road : Shravanabelagola is well connected by road from all important towns in Karnataka. You can here from Mysore, Bangalore or Hassan.

Best time : Any time of the year, but during summer, a pair of socks can come in handy. The boulders can get really hot in summer

Trip duration : 1 day

Places to stay : One goes to Shravanabelagola while visiting Belur and Halebid. The best places to stay at are in Hassan, Chikmaglur and in Bangalore. It is not really necessarily to stay at Shravanabelagola.
Aztec

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#2 Jan 6th, 2006, 07:28
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#2

Great writeup!

Thanks for all the info. We were there last year, was such a highlight we'll be back in February.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonelyaztec We left Bangalore at about 7.30 am and we reached Shravanabelagola temple premises at about 9 am.
That part doesn't seem quite right, You're saying it's just a 1 1/2 hour drive?
#3 Jan 6th, 2006, 08:06
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#3
The 1 1/2 hours doesn't sound right to me either, went there many years ago though.

The head of Gomateshwara appearing in view soon after you take the road to Shravanabelagola is awe-inspiring.

We drove Hyderabad - Bangalore - Mysore - Hassan - Belur/Halebidu - Shravanabelagola - Bangalore - Hyderabad.

BTW, how does the Gomateshwara statue compare (as the largest/tallest monolith) to the Buddha statue in Hyderabad. Of-course one is ancient and the other is very modern?
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain
#4 Jan 6th, 2006, 10:01
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#4
Beautiful description of your trip and I am sure you must have enjoyed it all as I was not fortunate enough to go there on my last visit to Karnataka although I did visit many other temple towns and places like Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, Belur, Halebid, Mysore, Srirangapattna, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Shimoga and the nearby Tiger & Lion Safari, Gajanur for the Rogue Elephant Training Camp, Hampi and Dharmasthala where we saw the second tallest Bahubali statue. So Shravanabelagola will still remain on my wish list when I get there again someday soon!!! Thanks for sharing your lovely experience. Much appreciated.

Cheers,
Aadil.
Climb high; climb far;
Your goal, the sky,
Your aim, the stars!!!
#5 Jan 6th, 2006, 11:46
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#5
Shaktipalooza,

We took just 1 and half hrs to drive from Blr to Shravanabelagola.

There are many routes...it depends on which one you choose.

if you choose the route i have suggested, it takes only 1 1/2 hrs.
#6 Jan 6th, 2006, 11:48
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#6
Hyderabadi,

Again, as i have mentioned to Shaktipalooza..depends on the route you take i guess.

I really loved the statue of Gommatt.

I have been to Hyd, but, have not had an opportunity to see the Buddha statue at Hussain sagar, upclose.

So, i can't really comment on how the two compare.

I am sure, both are equally beautiful.

And, according to me, Buddha is always beautiful - whether modern or ancient.
#7 Jan 6th, 2006, 11:54
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#7

Thumbs up

Ya! that place is truly special. Big goings on there next month- the once every 12 years mass meeting there- laks of people from all over. I have no idea how they are going to fit on top of that hill

Minor correction- Mahavir is not a god, just the 24th Thirtankar, or great teacher. Jains are mum on the topic of a higher power, even moreso that Buddhists
#8 Jan 6th, 2006, 12:00
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by bijapuri Ya! that place is truly special. Big goings on there next month- the once every 12 years mass meeting there- laks of people from all over. I have no idea how they are going to fit on top of that hill

Minor correction- Mahavir is not a god, just the 24th Thirtankar, or great teacher. Jains are mum on the topic of a higher power, even moreso that Buddhists
"laks of people from all over. I have no idea how they are going to fit on top of that hill"
and many of them will be naked too probably not really sure that sounds like my idea of a good time...
#9 Jan 6th, 2006, 13:06
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#9

thanks

Thanks for all the details. It will really come in handy if I go to the Maha-fest there in February. India Mike and IMers Rock! A bunch of people passionate about something helping each other for nothing (no money). I love it.
"Why do people go to India to find themselves? India is where you go to lose yourself."
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#10 Jan 6th, 2006, 13:23
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#10

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirensongs Thanks for all the details. It will really come in handy if I go to the Maha-fest there in February. India Mike and IMers Rock! A bunch of people passionate about something helping each other for nothing (no money). I love it.
Hi Sirensongs,

I guess everything is not for the money!!! Or else what is life all about?!!! Travel is one of my passions and trying to help someone with information and help regarding their travel plans or ideas is just my way of giving back to the others what I have received from someone else. As they say "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"!!! It is great to read your blogs on your travels in India and I eagerly look forward to reading the next interesting story. Thanks so much for sharing your life's stories on the internet.

Cheers,
Aadil.
#11 Jan 27th, 2006, 23:18
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#11

Bawangaja

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonelyaztec I have seen pictures of Gomateshwara, and have heard that it is the largest monolithic statue in India.
Largest monilithic statue in India is in Bawangaja. Its a statue of Rishabhnath (Adinath) who is the father of Gomateshwara and also a Jain Tirthankar. It is 84 feet high and carved in a mountain more like Buddha statue in Bamiyan as opposed to free-standing Gomateshwara.

Bawangaja is 75 Km from Mandu in Madhya Pradesh.

http://www.jainteerth.com/teerth/bawangaja.asp

http://www.bawangaja.com/
There are lots of pictures in "Media gallery" section
#12 Jan 27th, 2006, 23:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyderabadi BTW, how does the Gomateshwara statue compare (as the largest/tallest monolith) to the Buddha statue in Hyderabad. Of-course one is ancient and the other is very modern?
The Gomateshwara statue is 58.6 feet.
Buddha statue in Hyderabad is 72 feet.
#13 Jan 27th, 2006, 23:38
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bijapuri Minor correction- Mahavir is not a god, just the 24th Thirtankar, or great teacher. Jains are mum on the topic of a higher power, even moreso that Buddhists
Tirthankars are god but they are different in the sense that after achieving enlightenment himself, a Tirthankar shows the path of enlightenment to others.

According to jainism there is no god-incarnation (Avatar) or higher power.

Mahavir was 24th Tirthankar and Ridhabhnath was 1st.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirthankar

"Bhagwans (Gods) are infinite, but Tirthankaras in one epoch and in Bharatkshetra are twenty-four only. Every Tirthankar, as a rule, is a Bhagwan, but every Bhagwan is not a Tirthankar. A soul can attain godhood without being a Tirthankar. Every soul can become a God. That which leads to the attainment of perfection is called Tirtha and those who reach that supreme state themselves and show others the path of emancipation are called the Tirthankaras.

Bhagwan is not born, he grows to be one. Nobody is a Bhagwan since his birth. Mahaveer also was not a Bhagwan since his birth. He became a God, when he conquered himself. To conquer delusion, attachment and aversion is to conquer oneself."
#14 Jun 3rd, 2010, 21:26
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#14

Piece of history

There is a interesting piece of history associated here, rather a glorious one.

The first king of Maurya Empire, Chandragupta Maurya, died here, leading ascetic life under guidance of Badrabahu....thats why the name of one of the hill is chandragiri.....


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