Jinathanathapura is situated at a distance of two Kms from Shravanabelagola. It is found behind the Chandaragiri hillock at Shravanabelagola and one can gain access to it by receding the Chandragiri hillock from its rear side or on foot through a walk way behind the Akkana Basadi. There is also an alternative route through one of the roads from Shravanabelagola.
There are two Jain temples at Jinanathapura, the Aregal Basadi/Parshwanatha Basadi and Shanthinatha Basadi.
Aregal Basadi/Parshwanatha Basadi – This is a brick and mortar structure found besides the lotus pond at Jinanathapura. It was constructed during early period of 12th century A.D. by Hiri-Aechimayya son of Barma and the brother’s son of Gangaraja and Banganabbe. He was a pious Jain and is known to have constructed many Jain temples across Karnataka. Among these the temple built at Koppala (an erstwhile Jain heritage centre formerly known as Kopanachala) is in its ruins and is fully demolished. The Shanthinatha Basadi found on the Chandragiri hillock was also built by him. He attained Samadhi after taking a sanyasa diksha. An inscription mentions about a memorial stone (Nishadi Kallu) erected in his honour by his wife and mother.
The temple has a mukha mantapa, navaranga – with 10 pillars, antarala and garbagriha. The garbagriha enshrines a five feet high white coloured marble idol of Lord Parshwanatha in Padmasana. This 19th century idol replaced the original image when it was damaged. In the antarala is found a gandhakuti (an arch like rectangular formation around the door leading to the Garbagriha with cells all around. Small Jain idols will be placed in these cells.) flanked by Dharanendra Yaksha and Padmavathi Yakshi. On the right side of the navaranga are installed the Nagashilpa idols. An ancient inscription can be found on the right of the temple. Thought the temple is not significant from the architectural point of view but it is important since the history of construction of Jinanathapura begins from the period of this temples construction.
Shantinath Basadi/Shantishwara Basadi – This temple is found on the north western side of Jinanathapura. This is one of the ornate of all the Hoysala Basadi’s in Karnataka except that it is devoid of the pinnacle. This temple was built around 1200 A.D. by Recha?a a general under the Hoysala king Vira Ballala II. The temple is known for its star shaped foundation (a typical feature of Hoysalan temples), round bell-shaped pillars, elaborate doorways ceilings (bhuvaneshwari), niches in the hall and the fine craftsmanship.
In addition to this the temple is very impressive in terms of the sixty eight outer wall reliefs and is of iconographic importance. These include the reliefs of Tirthankaras, Yakshas, Yakshis, Goddesses, dancers, Musicians and others. Some of the images that can be recognised here are Lord Parshwanatha, Lord Suparshwanatha, Lord Neminatha, Yaksha Dharanendra, Yaksha Sarvarhna, Yakshi Padmavathi, Yakshi Chakreshwari, Yakshi Ambika, Yakshi Vajrashrinkala, Yakshi Ananthamathi, Goddess Saraswathi, Rati & Manmatha, Manmatha, dancing drummers, dressing girls and many other Tirthankaras and other figures. These images have drawn the attention of many historians and students of art and architecture.
The temple has a spacious navaranga with attractively carved pillars, antarala and a garbagriha. The Bhuvaneshwari (ceiling) of the navaranga has been adorned with a series of attractive carvings with a central Tirthankara surrounded by ashta dikpalakas. The door leading to the garbagriha is very impressive particularly on the lintel. We can find a four feet high black coloured idol of Lord Parshwanatha in padmasana in the garbagriha. The idol is installed on a 30 inches high attractively carved pedestal and is flanked by chowri bearers.
The attractively carved pillars, idols and the architectural skills used in the making of the temple are no way less than the once found at the world famous temples of Belur and Halebidu.
The temple disturbed during heavy floods in 2005, was later renovated by the archeological department.