Shravanabelagola/Sravanabelagola is an ancient Jain heritage site and a pilgrim centre located at a distance of 145 kms from Bangalore/Bengaluru, 84 Kms from Mysore/Mysuru, 50 Kms from Hassan and 219 Kms from Mangalore/Mangaluru.
Origin of the Name – The place derives its name from the point that Shravana or Shramana means a Jain ascetic and Belagola or Biliya Kola means white pond.
Lord Bahubali – Shravanabelagola is popular for the 57.7 feet high monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali/Gommateshwara located on the Vindhyagiri hill engraved by the Ganga general Chamundaraya in 981 A.D. It is a dream location for many to visit Shravanabelagola and with this enchanting idol.
The Mahamastakabhisheka mahotsava – head anointing ceremony of the Bahubali idol is held once in 12 years. People from all over the world folk to Shravanabelagola to witness this event.
History – Shravanabelagola has a history of over 2,300 years. The two hillocks – Chandragiri & Vindhyagiri, Bahubali statue, over 600 inscriptions, and 27 Jain temples, caves have contributed to Shravanabelagola’s heritage.
Attractions – Shravanabelagola’s chief attractions include the idol of Gommateshwara Bahubali, Chandragiri and Indragiri hillocks, Kirthistambha, Kalyani, Jain temples and the Digambar Jain Math. His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji is the pontiff of this Jain mutt.
Basadis/Temples – Some of the important Basadis of Shravanabelagola are Bhandari Basadi, Matada Basadi, Akkana Basadi in the town, Vadegalla Basadi on Indragiri hill, Chamudaraya Basadi, Antarala/Kamata Parshwanath Swamy Basadi on Chandragiri hill.
Inscriptions – The epigraphs spread over the 2 hillocks and within the town are a great treasure that helps build the history of Jainism in the region. Of the numerous inscriptions found at Shravanabelagola the inscription that describes the arrival of Acharya Badhrabahu towards South India along with his 12,000 disciples and the Mauryan emperor, Chandragupta Maurya is a very important historical evidence among all.
Of the 600 inscriptions found at Shravanabelagola over 250 of them are related to Sallekhana, a religious practice of Jainism. Owing to the availability of these inscriptions Shravanabelagola can also be called the Sallekhana Capital of the world.
The ensuing pages in this section will try to focus on the history, heritage and other details of Shravanabelagola.