Monsoons in India bring with them a certain kind of romance, everything looks beautiful in monsoons with the clouds above singing the poetry. On one such monsoon morning we decided to go to the famous jain pilgrimage – Shravanbelagola. It is called as one of the 7 wonders of India!!
So shravanbelagoal has two hills – Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri. On Vindhyagiri is the famous monolithic statute and on chandragiri there are caves that belong to the chandragupta maurya era. I have a separate post coming up on chandragiri hill.
Vindhyagiri hill has the famous Gommateshwara statue which is an important Jain pilgrimage and at 58 feet, it is considered to be the highest monolithic statue in the world!! And there you have a definite reason to visit this masterpiece apart from just the religious ones. In Jainism the statue is referred to as “Bahubali” and the base of statue has inscriptions written in devanagari script dating back to 981 AD.
So how to reach there?- Shravanabelagola is about 158 KM from Bangalore and makes for a beautiful drive on Bangalore-Mangalore Highway which is a pleasure to drive and it takes about 3 hours to reach the destination. There is decent parking space around and you can see the statue from far away.
But once you reach there, be ready for some workout, for this is not an easy journey. You need to climb close to 647 steps to reach there, and that too BAREFOOT!! Thankfully the day we chose our travel, it was cloudy and windy so it was actually easier to climb the steps!! But we saw so many people having difficulty to climb it.
Halfway through you will come across temples which lead up to the big statue, this is a good resting place in between the climb. There are inscriptions that are covered in glass and beautiful black stone statues. Inside the main temple you can go and also pray and then continue the journey uphill.
And then you reach the majestic statue!! Its beautiful, awe inspiring and you feel like just standing and marvelling at the beautiful creation. Its a small enclosure and you can go around and pray to the other Jain monk statues as well.
There are beautiful carvings that you can spend time on but my eyes could just not leave from that magnificent statue!!
Another tip, go a little in the backside and you can actually see the view down from the hill which is also breathtaking and with the awesome breeze, it is an ideal spot for meditation.
Its an experience with the climbing of steps and the beautiful views!!
Do let me know how was your experience!!