Humcha is a sacred and important pilgrim centre, especially for Jains in southern India. Humcha, also known as ‘Pomburchha pura’ in inscriptions, is situated about 58 km from Shimoga town.
Kadambas of Banavasi ruled Humcha between the third and sixth centuries AD. Later, it was ruled by Chalukyas of Badami between the sixth and eighth centuries. It was also the capital of the Santaras in the medieval times. Jinadattacharya is said to be founder of this holy place.
Humcha has many temples dedicated to Jain teerthankaras and the deity, goddess Padmavati.
An ancient tree known as ‘Lakkimara’, said to be over a thousand years old, stands nearby. Humcha has a very rich cultural and architectural heritage. The most attractive temple is the Pancha basadi, situated at the foot of the Billeshvara hill.
It is described as Urvi-tilakam (adornment on the world’s forehead) in the epigraphs. This Chalukyan-style temple was constructed by Chattadevi, wife of Kaduvetti, a Pallava chief in 1077 AD.
Facing east, the temple has a cloister (open space all around). There are two small shrines dedicated to deities Parsvanatha (north) and Bahubali (south) on either side of the main structure.
A magnificent monolith pillar (manastambha) adorns the front. With elegant carvings at its plinth, the base of the pillar has four elephants carved on the four corners and four more on the cordial points.
The temple consists of five cells in a row with a common navaranga, mahamantapa and open mukhamantapa.
There are three images in the cells of the basadi namely Chandranatha, Santinatha and Parsvanatha. The navaranga consists of ten bays with three doors flanked by images of Jvalamalini, yakshas and yakshinis.
This structure which was in a poor state is being restored to its original glory.
The Navaratri festival is celebrated with great religious zeal.
An annual car festival of Goddess Padmavathi is also held, and attracts devotees in large numbers. – Article Courtesy: Priyadarshan, Deccan Herald