History – We can find only two Jain temples here, viz. Sahasrakuta Jinalaya and the Vasupyjya Swamy Swethambar temple. Arasikere is said to have been a chief Jaina centre and is said to have had many Jain temples during the period of Hoysala’s.
Sahasrakuta Jinalaya – The Sahasrakuta Jinalaya situated in the Huliyara street is very ancient and was constructed during the Hoysalas period.
Concept of Sahasrakuta – The word ‘Sahasrakuta’ is a combination of two Kannada words ‘Sahasra’ meaning thousand and ‘kuta’ meaning combination. An idol which has the carvings of 1008 Tirthankaras on a single stone is called as the Sahasrakuta since it is an idols with a combination of Jain idols.
An ancient granite idol of ‘Sahasrakuta’ Tirthankara said to have being carved during the Hoysala’s period can be found at this temple. The idol had been damaged over a period of time and hence the trustees of the temple have installed a new Sahasrak?ta idol under the guidance of His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji of the Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt.
The New Sahasrakuta Idol – The new idol has been carved by the national award winning sculptor Sri Kalacharya from M.G.Halli Village of Hosadurga taluk in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
Structure of the New idol –
- Height – 7 feet 9 inches – a structure with five stages
- Stage 1 – Platform of 42 inches
- Stage 2 – 31 inches high – with tirthankaras idols of 19 inches on all the four sides. These idols have been flanked by small Tirthankara idols of 1.5, 2 and 3 inches.
- Stage 3 & STage 4 – Tirthankara carvings.
- Stage 5 – Ashtakalashas.
This is the only place other than Adaguru in Southern Karnataka where we can find the ‘Sahasrakuta’ stone carving and the other one being at Lakshmeshwara in Northern Karnataka.
Other Idols – The 42 inches high metal idol of Bhagwan Mahavira is very attractive. Behind the Sahasrakuta idol we can find the 30 inches high idol of Bhagawan Adinatha in the padmasana posture. To the right of the Adinatha idol we can find the 2 feet high idol of bhagawan Vimalanatha in the kayotsarga posture and to the left we can find the idol of goddess Saraswathi. This temple has Sukhanasi, Pradakshinapatha, Navaranga and Mukhamantapa. The carvings on the ceiling of the Navaranga is very attractive. We can also find an ancient inscription at temple that gives information about the temple’s history and its construction.
Swethambara Jain Temple – The other Jain temple being situated in the Aralikatte street was constructed in the early 90’s. The 12 inches high white coloured idol of Bhagawan Vasupujya in the padmasana posture is the main deity. This idol is flanked by idols of Lord Shanthinatha and Lord Mallinatha on right and left sides respectively. We can also find the idol of Manibadhraji and many small Jaina idols in the temple. The paintings of the different Jain pilgrimage places in this temple is very attractive.
How to Reach – Arsikere is at a distance of 149 Kms from Bangalore, 40 Kms from Hassan and 70 Kms from Shravanabelagola. It is one of the key railway junctions of Karnataka and is well connected by Trains from different parts of the state.
Nearest Airport – Bengaluru International Airport, at a distance of 172 Kms.
District Centre – Hassan, at a distance of 70 Kms.
Accommodation Details – Though being a taluk centre Aras?kere does not have very big hotels or lodges and hence it is advisable to stay at either Hassan or Shravanabelagola.
Near by Places of Jain Interest – Shravanabelagola, Hàssan, Halebìdu.
Near by Tourist Places – Shravanabelagola, Halebìdu, Belur.
Main Deity – 7 feet 9 inches high idol of Sahasrak?ta (1008) Tirthankaras and 42 inches high metal idol of Bhagawan Mahavira.