India is a land of many cultures, religions and traditions that come together and celebrate innumerable festivals. Places of all kinds of religious significance can, therefore, be found spread all across the country. This article, however, focuses on the Jain pilgrimage sites, or more specifically, those places in Karnataka where you can find huge monolithic statues of Lord Bahubali.
Bhagawan Bahubali, also known as Lord Gommateshwara, was the son of the first Jain tirthankara, Adinath, and thus, is a respected figure amongst Jains. While you might be aware of the magnanimous statue of Gommateshwara in Shravanabelagola, which happens to be one of the largest free-standing statues in the world, Karnataka is home to 4 other glorious statues that might pique your interest.
Here are the places you must visit in Karnataka to revel in glory of these monolithic statues, first-hand.
Situated near Channarayapatna, Shravanabelagola is a town in Hassan that is mostly famous for the Gommateshwara statue. The statue is so popular since it is said to be one of the largest monolith statues of the world, with a magnificent height of 58 ft, and is perched on the Vindhyagiri Hill.
You can also visit the many basadis, such as Akkana Basadi, Chandragupta Basadi, etc., that are situated in the town. Shravanabelagola is easily one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Jain devotees.
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Settled on the foothills of the Western Ghats, Karkala is a small town that is located about 60 km from Udupi. Karkala is also an important Jain pilgrimage site since it is home to around 18 basadis.
Apart from that, it is an abode to a 42 ft monolithic statue of Bahubali, situated on the Gommateshwara hill. A boisterous festival called Mahamasthakabhisheka takes place once every 12 years, when the statue is cleansed with thousands of pots filled with milk, ghee, saffron, etc.
Venur, also sometimes known as Venoor, is a small hamlet in Belthangady, settled on the banks of river Phalguni. The important striking attraction of this village is the 38 ft tall statue of Bahubali that was installed in 1604 by a Jain ruler named Timmanna Ajila.
Binnani Basadi, Mahalingeshwara Temple, etc. are some of the Jain temples that are spread across the village.
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The statue of Bahubali erected in Gommatagiri, that is located 20 km from Mysore, is an ancient 700-year-old statue. It was carved on granite during the Vijayanagar period and is erected on the Shravana Gudda hillock. This is a smaller statue of about 20 ft and looks quite similar to the one in Shravanabelagola.
The temple town of Dharmasthala is a panchayat village that is nestled on the river Nethravathi near Belthangady. Although the town is mainly known for the Dharmasthala Temple, it is also home to a statue of Gommateshwara that was installed in the 1973.
This monolith is of about 39 ft in height and is erected near the Manjunatha temple. Other places that you can visit in Dharmasthala include Netravathi river barrage, Ram Mandir, Annappa Betta, Manjusha Museum, to name a few.