Shravanabelagola occupies a unique and prominent place as an abode of innumerable Jain temples of Digambara sect in south India since 5th century. In addition to its archeological and religious importance the artistic and antiquarian richness of the place has merited it immensly. It has derived its name Belagola from two Kannada words bel means white and Kola means pond. The name Belagola is been found in an inscription of A.D. 650 and also A.D. 800. Hence the word Shravanabelagola means the place of white pond where in Shravanas or Jain ascetics live. It is a picturesque place lying between two rocky hills Indragiri and Chandragiri. It is situated about 13 Kms from Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district. Shravanabelagola abounds in inscriptions denoting Ganga, Rashtrakuta, Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Mysore Wodeyars reign of the place. The shrines, canopies, monuments, tanks, Nishadi stones, manasthambhas and other relics of the past have incessantly carved the message of Jainism through out the land from time to time. It has enjoyed both the royal patronage and the common-folk alike. These have been maintained in good state and preserving heritage. Hence it is reckoned as one of the flourishing centre of Jain pilgrimage. Further more the historians, art lovers and research sacholars are see thronging at the place very frequently. The near by places such as Kambadahalli Jinanathapura and Halebelagola also bear the testimony as the satellite centers of the religion. The temples are beckoned with cultural niche in terms of tradition of sculpture and architecture. The temples situated on the top of Indragiri and Chandragiri Hills, in the township and around Shravanabelagola narrate the history of the place in a lucid way. These are built mainly out of granite stone available in the place. Where as the temples constructed during the Hoysala period are mainly soap stone.
Akkana Basadi - Akkana Basadi in the town, Shanthishwara temple in Jinanathapura built in 12th-13th century are the good pieces of Hoysala sculpture and architecture. These are built in soap stone. These have the Adishtana of similar nature. Garbagriha the sanctum sanctorum, sukanasi and sabha mantapa. The intricately carved Yaksha Dharanendra and Yakshi Padmavathi are see in Akkana Basadi. The main deity of Akkana Basadi is Parshwanatha (5 feet). The shanthinatha temple of Jiannathapura resembles the temples of Belur and Halebid. Akkana Basadi was built by Achiakka in A.D. 1121. She was the wife of the Brahmin minister Chandramouli in the court of Ballala II the Hoysala King. It is called Akkana Basadi as it was built by Achiakka. A village called Bommaiahanahalli was granted for its maintenance. Shanthinatha Basadi was built by Rechanna Dandanayaka according to the inscription found in Adhishtana. Rechanna was the commander in chief of Ballala II. It was constructed in the later part of 12th century.
Majjiganna Basadi - It is a temple of simple architecture constructed in the medival part of 12th century. Its Mandapam in the front is attractive. There is an idol of Ananthanatha Tirthankara in the sanctum sanctorum. One can see the carvings of the row of diamond shaped lotus flowers on the outer surface of the walls.
Bhandari Basadi - It is the largest temple seen in the town at Shravanabelagola and is built at different stages in different times. It measures 266 feet X 78 Feet. It bears Garbagriha, Antarala, Sabhamantapa and Mukha Mantapa constructed in simple architectural style. There is a long row of 24 prophets of 3 feet height in Kadgasana filling the Garbhagriha and the images are installed on the ornamental pedestal. It has three splendid doorways with carvings of human and animal figures and foliage. The idols of Yakshi Padmavathi and Brahma are found in Antarala, the entrance door bears a fine carving of dancing Indra with 12 arms and a plate of conglomeration of musicians. It was built in A.D. 1159 by Hulla, the treasurer (Bhandari) of the Hoysala King Narasimha I (A.D. 1141-1173). Hence it is named after him as Bhandari Basadi. The other huge constructions in front and around the temple were built during the Vijayanagara period. A fine manasthambha was erected in front of the main entrance. The temple has gained its importance because of the fact that it has housed the famous Bukkaraya inscription of Vijayanagara period mentioning the conflict that existed between Jaina and Sri Vaishnavas and finally resolved with compromise. Hulla was conferred the title of 'Samyaktva-Chudamani'. A village called Sovaneru was granted for the maintenance of the temple. Devappa of Nanjarayapattana the son of chieftain Bukkaraya built a portion of the temple in A.D. 1527 and called it Saraswati Mantap.
Nagara Jinalaya - Nagara Jinalaya bears a simple architecture with Devakoshtas. There is Adinatha Tirthankara statue in the Garbhagriha. It was built by Nagadeva in A.D. 1195. He was the minister and chieftain of Ballala II (A.D. 1173-1220). It is called Nagara Jinayala as it was looked after by the merchants of the place. It is also called Sri Nilaya.
Mangai Basadi - Mangai Basadi has Shanthinatha idol in the garbhagriha. It was built by Mangai a court dancer and also a disciple of Abinava Charukeerthi Panditacharya in the year A.D. 1325. It is also called as Tribhuvana Chudamani. The Shanthinatha idol was installed by Bhimadevi the queen of Devaraya I/II the Vijayanagara King. She was the disciple of Charukeerthi Panditacharya.
Chennana Basadi - This was built in the year A.D. 1667 by Chennanna and his brother Chickkanna. The human figures found in this temple are said to represent Chennanna, Chikkanna and their parents Puttaswamy Shetty and Deviramma. One can also find the idol of Adinatha on the rock near Garbhagriha. There is a Manasthambha in front of the temple.
Siddantha Basadi - It is so called as the sacred books of the Jaina Siddantha were secured in a darkroom of this temple. It is said that the Dhavala philosophical works were carried from this temple to Moodabidri. The village called Bammeyanahalli was granted by the royal patronage for its maintenance.
Dhanashale Basadi - One can find a Panchaparameshti image of about 3 feet height in this temple. It is interesting to note that the village Madaneya was granted by Doddadevaraja Wodeyar (A.D. 1659-1672), the king of Mysore at the instance of prince Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar, according to Munivamshabyudaya of Chidanandakavi. Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar had visited Shravanabelagola.
Jain Mutt (Monastery)- It is the residence of Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji, its one storied fine structure was built in 1912 A.D. Later an upper storey was added to the building. The shrine of the place has three cells. There are seen metal and stone idols in the cells said to be donated by the people of Tamil Nadu during 1850 to 1858 A.D. The chief image in the sanctum sanctorum is Chandranatha. another cell on the left side of the Jain Mutt temple shows the image of Yakshi Kushmandinidevi the main deity of Shravanabelagola. Regular and festival poojas are offered to Kushmandinidevi and thousands of devotees throng at the place to have a darshan of the Goddess. One of the interesting images of the Mutt is the Navadevata Bimba or the image of nine deities. There is are also an image of Panchaparameshtis. A metallic idol of about 2 feet including its pedestal draws the attention of the pilgrims. This was discovered while digging up the ground of a coffee plantation belonging to Mr.Crawford in the Manjarabad near Sakaleshpur in Hassan district. Mr.Crawford donated the same to the Jain Mutt. The wall paintings of the mutt temple depict the scenes from the life of some Tirthankara, samavasarana of Parshwanatha, life of Bharatha and also Jaina King Nagakumara. It has got a beautiful picture of the garden scene illustrating the six Leshyas of Jaina philosophy. The mural paintings are described by the poet Ananthakavi in his classic (A.D. 1780) Bahubali Charita (Bhujabali Charita). It is interesting to see the images of Jina made out of precious stones like ruby, saphire, coral and emerald. A special darshan Siddantha Darshan is refered to viewing these idols and shown to the devotees selectively. The extension work of the mutt was undertaken in 1980. It has assumed a two storied structure in modern style and is known as 'Bhattaraka Bhavana'.
Chandranatha Basadi - It is found atop the Jain Mutt temple and contains mainly the metal idols. Behind this basadi is found an idol of Lord Neminatha that was installed recently.
Jakki Katte Basadi - This is a small tank to the south of Bhandari Basadi at Sanehalli was caused to be made by Jakkimavve, she was the wife of the elder brother of Gangaraja and the mother of general Boppadeva (A.D. 1120).
Kalamma Basadi - This is the only ancient Hindu temple found at Shravanabelagola and is situated near Akkanna Basadi. It is dedicated to Goddess Kali. For the offerings rice is provided from the Jain Mutt.
Kalyani - This is a large beautiful pond situated at the centre of the town. It has steps on all sides and surrounded by a wall with gates surmounted by towers. It was built by Annaiah the officer of Kammata (mint) but he died before its completion. Later his grandson Krishnawodeyar-I completed the gopura, the tank and corridor as mentioned in Anathakavi's Gommateshwara Charite. In the course of years the construction was also taken over by Chikkadevarajendra Wodeyar, the king who ruled Mysore state from A.D. 1672-1704 and was completed in A.D. 1723 in his memory as he died during the period of its construction.
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Kalyananda Haadi: Ed.Dr.Siddalinga Pattanashetty (1999)
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