The tallest monolithic statue in the world is in this temple. Gomateshwara or Bahubali’s statue stands tall at 17 m. It was built around 983 AD. It is visible from a distance of 30 km.
The Bahubali temple or Gomateshwara Temple is located on a town called Shravanabelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka. It is 3350 m above sea level. The city is also known as the city of ponds and temples.
The place is a famous Jain pilgrimage center. Shravanabelagola has two hills - Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri. The statue of Bahubali is present in the Vindhyagiri hills. There is etching at the base of the statue remembering the chivalrous General, Chavundaraya of the king Rajamalla, Ganga Dynasty. He had funded for constructing the statue as a form of dedication to his mother.
“Shravana” means saint while “Belgola” means white pond. The statue is here is first one of the new seven wonders of India.
History of Shravanabelagola Temple :
The first of the 24 Tirthankaras in Jainism, Rishabanatha had 99 sons. Baratha was the elder brother to Bahubali. The brothers had to settle the dispute over the kingdom their father had left. In all of the three fights, Bahubali won but wasn’t interested in claiming the kingdom. He gave up the pursuit, thinking about the lives of others, and the dispute it is going to bring. Bahubali renounced the kingdom and started meditation. Bahubali followed a strict penance to gain enough knowledge. The perfect knowledge or “Kevali Arihanta” came to Bahubali. He got the name Gomateshwara, for his highest level of knowledge. “Gommata” in the Kannada language means huge. Undisturbed by the outer world, Bahubali had stood in deep meditation. He became so disconnected from the material world that creepers had grown around him. The giant monolith's carvings have it too.
Specialty of Shravanabelagola Temple :
- Bahubali is also referred to as “Kammateshwara”.
- Bahubali, the presiding god of this temple was born in Ayodhya.
- The statue of Bahubali is made in granite and weighs around 80 tons.
- The “Digambara” or naked statue is a symbolic representation of Jainism. It means winning over earthy attachments.
- The face reflects the calm and composed mind of Bahubali.
- The complete figure stands on a lotus flower. Here, "Yakshini" and "Yaksha" statues represent service offerings.
- There are 650 stairs to reach the top of the hill, close to the head of Bahubali.
- One can see the sculptures of 24 Tirthankaras to the left of the Bahubali statue.
Temple and Pooja Timings :
General Time : 6 AM - 11.30 AM and 3.30 PM - 6.30 PM.
(Offering of “Prasadham” to all visitors from 12 noon and dry fruits as Prasadham)
Celebration of Mahamastakabisheka or the grand holy bath festival happens once in every 12 years. The last one was in 2018 which is surprisingly similar to the Neela Kurinji's blooming years. The next Mahamastakabisheka is in 2030 and this heart-filling ritual uses milk, ghee, curd, sugarcane juice, and saffron water. Thousands of people gather to involve in the emphatic and joyous celebration.
Dress Code :
Clean and modest clothing is recommended to visit this temple. Devotees of Baghwan Bahubali would wear white or saffron colored dhotis. Sarees for womenfolks.
Nearby Temples :
- Chowdeshwari Temple (62.5 km away from Bahubali Temple)
- Doddagaddavalli Lakshmi Devi Temple (70.6 km away from Bahubali Temple)
- Sri Sowmyakeshava Perumal Temple (35.7 km away from Bahubali Temple)
- Sri Venugopalaswamy Temple (58.2 km away from Bahubali Temple)
- Sri Siddhalingeshwara Swamy Temple (53km away from Bahubali Temple)
Best Time to Visit Shravanabelagola Temple:
From December to February, the temperature of Shravanabelagola is at its best. Around winter, the temperature ranges from 15 to 30 degrees Celcius. June to September gets the heaviest monsoon rainfall. Post-monsoon months like November looks beautiful after the monsoon. Temperature goes high from March to May. It ranges from 23 to 37 degrees Celcius.
How to Reach Shravanabelagola Temple :
By Air : The nearest international airport is the Bangalore International Airport. It is just four and a half hours away from Shravanabelagola. (The airport is 164.5 km away from Shravanabelagola)
By Rail : Major destinations like Pune, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Thane, Coimbatore, Shimla are connected to the railway station in Shravanabelagola.
By Road : Frequent bus services from major cities connect Shravanabelagola. 89 km from Mysore and 18 km away from Hirisave. Cabs and Shared taxis from the airport is a good option.
Address : Shravanabelagola, Karnataka 573135.