History – Venoor / Venur is a historical place, many relics of the past are found here. It was the capital of the Ajila kings. The Bahubali statue standing on a pair of lotus found here was installed by Thimmanna Ajila in 1604 AD. Eight Jain temples can be found here among them the Shanthinatha temple is an important one. We can find many paintings related to Jainism at this temple. The other temples at Venoor include Akkanagal basadi(built by two sisters) dedicated to bhagwan Chandraprabha, Binnani basadi dedicated to bhagwan Shanthinatha, Choubisa tirthankara temple built in 1621 AD, Kallu basadi (built in 1490) dedicated to bhagwan Shanthinatha, the Parshwanatha temple found at the building of Shri Digambara Jaina Tirthakshetra Samithi. The bhagwan Mahavira temple can be found on the first floor of the Kallu Basadi. The idols of all the 24 tirthankaras can be found at the Choubisa tirthankara temple.
How to Reach – This place is situated at the Belathangadi taluk. It is at a distance of 54 Kms from Mangalore, 32 Kms from Dharmasthala and 20 Kms from Mudabidri. The boarding and lodging facilities are available at Dharmasthala or Mudabidri.
Bahubali idol at Venur
The Bahubali idol at Venur has carved out for itself an unique place in the Jaina history. This idol was consecrated in 1604 on a small hillock called as Bahubali Betta by Timmanna Ajila the formost and most popular among the Ajila Kings who ruled the region. Inspired by the preachings of his Guru His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji of Moodabidri Jain Mutt. The 35 feet high north facing proportionately carved idol is erected on an elevated pedestal without any support.
Jain temples at Venur
Apart from the Bahubali idol we can find as many as 7 Jain temples at Venur. Two temples are found at the entrance of fort like enclosure surrounding the Bahubali idol.
Akkangala Basadi or Eda Basadi – Timmanajila’s first wife Padyakka Devi or Vardhamanakka and second wife Malli Devi built this temple with Lord Chandranatha as the main deity. It is either called as Akkangala Basadi or Eada Basadi and is situated to the left of Bahubali idol. This was built in 1604 A.D.
Binnani Basadi or Bala Basadi – The third wife Parshwadevi or Binnani built the Shanthishwara Basadi called as Bala Basadi to the right of Bahubali idol. This was built in 1604 A.D.
Parshwanatha Swamy Basadi – This temple is situated behind the fort like enclosure of the Bahubali statue. It has a metal (pancha loha – 5 metals) idol of Lord Parshwanatha as the main deity. Records indicate that the renovation of this temple was carried out in the year 1936 by his Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji of the Moodabidri Jain Mutt.
Kallu Basadi or Dodda Basadi or Shanthinatha Basadi – Since the temple has been completely built of stones (kallu) with tiled roofs it is called as Kallu Basadi. By virtue of being the biggest temple in Venur it is also called as Dodda basadi. It was built by Binnani Baliya Aadya Devarasa (prime minister of the Ajila king Saluva Pandyappa Devarasa) in 1489 A.D. and records indicate that he made some donations. It has a 5 feet high attractive idol of Lord Shanthinatha as the main deity. On either side of the idol can be found the idols of Garuda Yaksha and Mahamanasi Yakshi. In addition to this we can also find the idols of Lord Chandranatha, Lord Mahavira and a bronze statue of 24 Tirthankaras.
Inscriptions at Kallu Basadi – We can find two inscriptions at Kallu Basadi. As mentioned above one of the inscriptions is found in the pedestal of a 24 Tirthankara bronze statue mentions that Venur was also called as Punjalike Rajya. The other inscription of 1621 has recorded the donations given to this temple by Madhurakka Devi who ruled the region.
Adinatha Basadi – This Basadi is situated to the left of Kallu Basadi. It has an idol of Lord Adinatha in padmasana as the main deity.
24 Tirthankara Basadi/Ammanavara Basadi – This temple is situated to the right of Kallu Basadi. It has the seperate idols of all the 24 Tirthankaras in Kadgasana (standing posture) installed in a row. To the right of the Tirthankara idols is found an idol of Goddess Saraswathi and to the left is found an idol of Goddess Padmavathi. Due to the presence of Goddess Padmavathi the temple is some times called as Ammanavara Basadi. Ammanavaru is a term used by Jains in Karnataka to denote Goddess Padmavathi. An inscription found to the right of this temple mentions that it was built in 1537.
Vardhamana Swamy Basadi – It has the idol of Lord Vardhamana Mahavira as the main deity.