Shravanabelagola/Sravanabelagola is one of the most important Jain tirth (a sacred place) of the Jains in South India. It is a place of great importance from the point of pilgrimage and also archeological and religious heritage. The place derives its name from the point that Shravana or Shramana means a Jain ascetic and Belagola or Biliya Kola means white pond.
Shravanabelagola is well-known for its senic beauty as well as for its religious sanctity. The two hills, the tank between, and the entire surroundings of Shravanabelagola are so enchanting and pleasing that they invariably attract the attention of all kinds of persons. The place is also important from the view of the regions history. Shravanabelagola flourished and cherished in the background of royal patronage and enjoyed the supremacy of religious fervour. The place was the key centre for all the activities of Jainism. It was more a religious capital than the political arena. It laid down the firm foothold for the spread of Jainism throughout south India. It was the sun shore for the propagation of religion to every nook and corner of society. Religion was an inducing factor influencing the effect of religion. It has played a pivotal role in the political history of Karnataka. The kings, samanthas, chieftains and palegars have ruled the place with valour and religious fragrance.
Temples at Shravanabelagola – There are as many as 30 plus Jain temples at Shravanabelagola and are worshipped as per the Digambar Jain tradition and are spread across the two hillocks (Indragiri or Dodda Betta and Chandragiri or Chikka Betta) and the town. The oldest temple belongs to the 7th Century and the newest belongs to 19th century. These temples are dedicated to different Tirthankaras of Jainism and are rich in their art and architecture. Chavundaraya Basadi located on the Chandragiri hillock at Shravanabelagola is sometimes called as King of Jain temples owing to its structure, art and architecture.
Inscriptions at Shravanabelagola – There are as many as 1000 plus inscriptions at Shravanabelagola with bulk of them related to Jainism. These inscriptions reveal very interesting facts about aspects of the history of Karnataka and Jainism.
Bahubali in Jainism – Bahubali is not a Tirthankara, however he is the son of the first Tirthankara Adinatha. He is the first person to attain salvation (moksha), it is because of this reason that Bahubali is looked up with great reverence by Jains.
Bahubali idol at Shravanabelagola – On the Chandragiri hill stands is installed the idol of Gommateshwara. It was erected by Chamundaraya, the minister of the Ganga king Rachamalla. Its consecration ceremony was 1st held in 981 A.D. It is 57.7 feet high and has been carved out of a single stone.
Maintenance of Monuments at Shravanabelagola – All monuments at Shravanabelagola including the Bahubali idol are looked after by the archeological survey of India (ASI) and its day to day pooja is managed by Sri Digambar Jain Mutt Institutions Managing Committee (R) (SDJMIMC (R)) with His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji the pontiff of Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt.
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