How to reach Shravanabelagola from Bangalore?
- From Bangalore catch a bus to Channarayapattana. Distance is around 150 kms.
- Time to reach Channarayapattana is around 3.5 hours from Bangalore. Ticket price is around Rs. 150
- Buses are available anytime from Majestic bus stand or you can also book your ticket online at Ksrtc site
- From Channarayapattana, you can get car, auto, mini bus and local bus to Shravanabelagola. Distance is around 15 kms. Autos charge around 250.
Where to stay in Shravanabelagola?
Although there are hotels near the shravanabelagola bus stand and Channarayapattana town. But if you are going during the peak time of Jain pilgrimage, its wiser to book the accomodation in advance. I prefer to stay in the Dharamshaala there. Dharamshaala is like a house of pilgrims. There are cheaper, clean and run by Jain people. There are two famous dharamshaal in Shravanabelagola:
- Sri Jain Math and Digambar Jain Dharmashala, Vidyananda Nilaya, Guest House, Shravanabelagola (Phone No.: 08176 – 657235)
- Kshetra committee accomodation office, near bus stand, behind Vidyanada dharamshaala
Shravanabelagola temple timings:
- The temple timings are from morning 6-30 am to 11-30 am and 3-30 pm to 6-30 pm in the afternoon.
Shravanabelagola Tourist reception and information office facilities:
- You can get the full information about the upcoming events
- For elderly people, you can book doli to the temple. For the people who cannot walk upto the hill
- You can hire a guide for many interesting information for 200
What to see in Shravanabelagola?
- Statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali
- White pond
- Various types of inscriptions
- Sunset from the chandagiri hills
It was one of those sunny saturdays in the torrid month of April when me and three of my friends planned out for a one day trip to Shravanabelagola, halebidu and belur , all three places on the same day. We hired a Figo from Zoomcars and started off at 9 am after having breakfast at home. The NH48 highway is very broad and well maintained. As our car hit the highway it naturally took the fifth gear speed smoothly and we drove past number of granite hillocks along with green stretch of fields on both the sides of the road. The sky was bright blue and the dark pitch road was shimmering in the direct sun rays. We could anticipate that the temperature outside must be above 30 degree Celsius but we were enjoying the ac inside the car. During such trips google map navigation app comes as a handy since none of us knows the route.
After almost 3 hrs at 12 noon we reached the Shravanabelagola. Shravanabelagola is a city located about 158kms from Bangalore. The name “Shravanabelagola” means “white pond of shravana” the photo of which is depicted below. The statue of the Jain saint Gommateshvara Bahubali in the city is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Jains. 58 feet tall ,the world’s largest monolithic stone statue of Gommateshvara is placed on the top of the Vindhyagiri hills. It was created around 983 AD by Chavundaraya, a minister of the Ganga King, Rachamalla.
We got down the car and could feel the strong heat of the sun. The weather was extremely hot and as we started walking down the street we could feel little perspirations running down our body. I gazed at the hill which we were about to ascend. It was difficult to look up owing to the blazing sun. The hill seemed steep and high with big boulders and huge stones jutting out of it. I could make out a long winding stony stair case that carved its way up the hill and vanished somewhere in the top. We read before coming that we had to climb 650 stone-carved stairs to reach the top of the hill that too on bare foot. There was absolutely no trees, no shades above the stairs. The entire hill looked so barren and naked. I quickly took out my shades and wore a brown hat so as to safeguard from the scorching rays. Three of my friends bought hats from nearby shops.
We had to submit our shoes and cameras in the reception before we started our barefoot climb. I was thinking whether it would be possible for me to bear the hot-coal like stone beneath my feet during the long climb so I did not pull out my socks and so did my friends.
The stairs were little high and steep and we started climbing. Sometimes we would stop of course to catch our breath and sometimes to take photos and as we looked back we were amazed at the slowly changing scenario around us surrounding the hill -the white pond, behind it the Chandragiri hill, small houses , distant greeneries, small and big stony hills situated near and far – the beautiful panoramic view of the entire city captured our heart. As we climbed higher we drew closer to the temple and we could see its entrance. In terms of physics, we did enough work in climbing 650 stairs under the harsh merciless sun and we were completely drained out. On reaching the summit we sat somewhere and drank lots of water to satiate our parched throat.
We entered the temple. Near the entrance we could see huge glass slabs made by the government lying on the floor which protected and covered some ancient scriptures carved out of the rocks on the floor. These inscriptions include texts in the Kannada, Sanskrit, Marathi, Konkani, Tamil, Marwari and Mahajani languages.
All around the temple there were several statues, carvings on the stone and big pillars. The huge Gommateshvara Bahubali figure made out of single granite stone stands majestically in the centre. The colossal figure is naked and the beautifully sculpted feature of the statue epitomizes the divinity and magnificence hidden in the flawless ancient art which was around 1800 years old.
Lord Gommateshvara was a jain prince named Bahubali ,the son of Rishabha (first tirthankara and founder of Jainism). Bahubali is a much respected figure among Jains. After winning the battle against his elder brother, Bharata, he developed a desire for renunciation. He gave his kingdom to Bharata and left to lead a life of penance and meditation becoming a jain monk and practicing nirvana. It is known that a spectacular event known as Mahamastakabhisheka is held once in 12 years where thousands of devotees congregate and the statue is anointed with milk, curds, saffron ,ghee, coconut water, turmeric paste and gold and precious jewels.
There is a spacious chamber in Bhandari Basti about 200 meters to the left of Gommateshvara Statue containing the 24 figures of Tirthankaras.