Shravanabelagola is an important Jain pilgrimage Centre in South Karnataka. Shravanabelagola is home to the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara; considered to be one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues. Constructed in 981 AD by Chamundaraya, a Ganga warrior, it is carved out of a single block of granite and looms on the top of Vindhyagiri Hill. It is visible up to 30 km away. There are nearly 700 steps hewn in the rock-face which must be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic. It is amazing to see so much grace and poise etched on a sculpture of such big scale. The statue truly reflects the idea of great strength devoid of rage and anger. This massive monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara will definitely leave you in awe. The surrounding enclosures has images of all the Jain Tirthankaras.
Vindhyagiri: Vindhyagiri is a large rocky hill 133 meters above ground (1002 meters above sea level). The Gomateshwara statue is located at the top of Vidhyagiri hill, surrounded by a temple complex. Reaching the top requires climbing hundreds of steps cut on the rock. Palanquin service is available to carry senior citizens wishing to visit the temples and statue on Vindhyagiri
Chandragiri Hill: Chandragiri hill is located opposite to Vindhyagiri. 14 different temples (Jain Basadi) are found on top of Chandragiri, most prominent ones being Shantinatha, Parshvanatha and Chandragupta basadi.
Timings: Shravanabelagola temple timings are 6.30 AM to 11.30 AM and 3.30 PM to 6.30 PM. At least half a day is recommended to explore the hills of Shravanabelagola.
Mahamasthakabhisheka: Perhaps the most thrilling act of worship can be witnessed here during the renowned Mahamasthakabhisheka ceremony. Every 12 years, Jain pilgrims gather here to participate in the colourful Mahamasthakabhisheka of the Lord (head-anointing ceremony). From a specially erected scaffolding, priests and devotees pour hundreds of pots of curd, milk, honey, vermilion, coconut water, turmeric paste, and even gold and precious jewels over the statue’s head. The whole structure is awash in different colours which is a sight worth seeing. The most recent Maha Mastakabhisheka was held in 2018.
Places to visit near Shravanabelagola: Shettihalli Church (72kms), Markonahalli dam (62 km), Sakaleshapura (92 km), Melukote (35 km), KRS Dam (60 km), Beluru and Halebidu (90 kms) are some of the attractions which can be visited along with a tour of Shravanabelagola.
How to reach Shravanabelagola: Shravanabelagola is 145 km from Bengaluru and 85 km from Mysuru
By Air: Mysuru is the nearest airport 85 km away
By Train: Shravanabelagola has a train station with up to five different trains providing connectivity from Bengaluru each day.
By Road: Buses are also available from Hasan to Shravanabelagola. Places of interest here can be explored on foot.
Places to stay near Shravanabelagola: Being an important Jain Pilgrimage Centre, the temple management runs two Dharamshalas or guest houses which can be booked subject to availability by visiting temple offices. Budget hotels are available in Shravanabelagola town. More stay options are available at Chennarayapattana town 12 km from Shravanabelagola.