Sravanabelagola or Shravanabelagola is a religious center for the Jains. The town has two prominent hills of religious significance. One of them houses the famous and huge monolith statue of Gomateshwara Bahubali, the 1st Tirthankara of Jainism. Lord Mahavira was the 24th and the last Tirthankara (saviour and spiritual teacher) of the Jain religion.
It started to drizzle by the time we reached Sravanabelagola at 10:30 am. SInce it is a place of worship with working Jain temples, there is no entrance fee, but you have to leave your footwear at a stall at the foothill.
The statue is atop the hill and you have to climb barefoot, about 700 + steps. You can wear socks as the kid did, but it became soaking wet in the rain. The rain was in a way a blessing as otherwise the granite steps would really burn the soles. Hubs and me climbed barefoot.
There is a handrail to help climb; I held onto it for both the ascend and the descend. I have fear of heights and hence did not dare to look down while climbing; I would feel light headed and feel like I am about to fall. The climb was no easy task for me; not used to the strenuous exercise. I had to pause several times, to catch my breath. It was very slow progression; but made it to the top !
The climb is steep, the steps and the handrail make things so much easier. There are a few landings in-between with temples and sculpted doorways; when you think you are done, there’s still another flight of steps ahead !
After a steep climb and a landing, a temple comes into view. The temple is built of granite blocks and is a working temple. The priest in the temple was lamenting to a visitor that hardly any Jains visit the place; it’s mostly tourists and foreigners !
Further on you see a small open pavilion enclosing a carved pillar called Tyagada Kamba dating back to the era of the Ganga dynasty.
From the Tyagada Kamba, the next series of steps lead you to a sculpted monolithic gateway called Akhanda Bagilu.
The description about the sculpture above the door reads – Goddess Lakshmi, flanked by two elephants, who anoint the Goddess with pots held in their trunks. Again attributed to the Ganga dynasty, other sculptures in it include crocodiles and lions.
Another flight of steps and you finally enter reach the top, where a temple is seen enclosing the Bahubali statue. The head of the statue is seen above the temple roof top. By now, it stopped raining and the skies were blue again !
The 58 feet high monolith statue of Bahubali looks good as new even though it dates back to 183 AD ! The plant vines seen sculpted around his legs have a fantastic story. He is said to have meditated motionless for a year in a standing posture and during this time, climbing plants grew around his legs !! The temple and premises are clean.
The sun was shining bright during our descend and it was getting very hot and so high up ! The drizzle on the way up was a blessing indeed !!
The climb did seem like a struggle initially, but it was fun and the views atop and the learnings along the way totally worth it !
By the time was reached down it was 12:30 pm; two hours spent here. And now back into the Jeep and off to the hills ⛰
Till next post, take care !!
One Comment Add yours