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Shravanabelagola

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Lord Gommateshwara- The world's largest monolithic stone statue

Shravanabelagola[1] is a village famous for its impressive Jain temple. It is located in Hassan District of Karnataka.

Understand

Shravanabelagola is a Jain pilgrim destination located in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, Southern India, at an altitude of about 3350 feet above sea level. The town is wedged between two rocky hills- Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri. It is at a distance of It is 11 Km from Channarayapatna, 52 Km from Hassan town, the headquarters of the Hassan district and 157 Kms from Bangalore. There are good roads from Bangalore and Mysore to Shravanabelgola. The town's Municipality has existed for the past 70 years.

There is a tank in the midst of this town called "Belagola" In Kannada (the state language), 'Bela' means white and 'kola' means the pond, an allusion to the beautiful pond in the middle of the town. Shravanabelagola is a holy place for Jains. Their Guru is residing here in a Mutt. There is a Sanskrit Patashala to study Sanskrit and Shastras.

This town has got some historical references, which add to the importance of this place. According to the tradition of the Jain Bhadrabahu, one of the Sritakavalli as the successor of Vardhamana (Mahaveera) passed away here in a cave on Chandrabetta or Chandragiri hill, while leading a migration to the South from Ujjain due to a 12-year famine, which he had predicted.

There are ancient monuments in and around Shravanabelagola. There are monuments of rare excellence and skill got executed by the illustrious Gangas and Hoysalas who had profound sense of duty and ardent devotion to religion. The finest monuments are found in two sacred hills, Vindhyagiri and the Chandragiri.

Talk

A number of languages are spoken around here that reflects the cultural diversity of Karnataka. Kannada is the official state language but English and Hindi are also widely spoken, so communication shouldn't be much of a problem.

Get in

Shravanabelagola is 146 km from Bangalore and 11 km from Channarayapatna. Hassan 57 km, Mysore 83 km, Arasikere 63 km.


The road that leads to Shravanabelagola- at the background is Vindhyagiri Hill


By air

The nearest airport is at Bangalore (157 kms), regular flights of Indian and Jet Air connect Bangalore to the main areas of the country

By rail

Nearest station is Hassan (57 Km) and Bangalore is (157 Km away). Taxi or cars are the other options from here.

By road

Shravanabelagola is well connected by road from all important towns in Karnataka. You can get here from Mysore, Bangalore or Hassan. Buses from Hassan are frequent. But there are no direct buses to Shravanabelagola. You have to change over at Channarayapatna. Local transport from Channarayapatna includes auto rickshaws, private cars and buses. From Bangalore you can hire a taxi or bus to reach the main town, the route is simple. After taking NH-4 from Bangalore, once you cross Nelamangala, take a deviation towards Mangalore on Mangalore-Bangalore highway (NH48). Just follow this road until Hirisave from where you will see router marking which leads to Shravanabelagola. Hirisave is 18KM from Sharavanabelagola, if you are using Google maps for navigation, then it will ask you to go further from Hirisave and then take a left: This route is not good. It is recommended to take deviation from Hirisave to reach Shravanabelagola.

Private vehicles are also available to go to Shravanabelagola from Channarayapatna. It is advisable to visit Shravanabelagola through Channarayapatna only, because of the lack of direct buses to Shravanabelagola from Hassan city.

There are KRSTC buses from

  • Hassan to Channarayapattana
  • Channarayapattana to Shravana Belagola

Get around

Autorickshaws to travel from one place to another.

“Dolis” built of a comfortable cane chair carried by four men for a tour over the hills.

See

The town is small and you can easily walk between the major attractions. The biggest question is how much time you have, and how interested you are in history, the Jain religion, wandering or relaxing in nature. Many people seem to visit and only see Vindhyagiri, however Chandragiri is just as if not more interesting save the lack of a statue. For groups with older or younger members, it may be worth counting on one day for Vindhyagiri, one day for Chandragiri, and one day for the other temples and departure.

Attractions in town

The temples in the town itself are inferior by comparison to those on the mountains, but probably worth seeing regardless. They are all located on a north/south road one block east of the pond that dominates the town. If you are unclear how to get there, just turn left at the bottom of the main steps to Vindhyagiri or ask a local for 'Jain Math' which will take you to one end.

Vindhyagiri

[[Image:Vindhyagiri.jpg|thumb|250px|View from above the Vindhyagiri

Do

Main thing to see are the temples. No other major activity to do here though. The temple it self takes up most of your time.

Make sure you take a camera along, these historic monuments and sculptures make interesting visual delights and are worth capturing. The guides that you get at Belur and Halibidu are ok. Some part of what they tell you is made up but the other part is actual history.

Buy

The local market at Shravanabelagola is quite colourful with its collection of restaurants, bakeries, ATM centers, fruit and vegetable vendors, stationary shops, curio shops, medical store etc. All in all, the market is well established and provides everything that is essential.

Eat

The delectable southern Karnataka cuisine is an inseparable part of the state. The oouthern Karnataka plateau covers the districts of Bangalore, Rural Bangalore, Hassan, Kodagu, Kolar, Mandya, Mysore and Tumkur. Here, the range of cuisine is quite varied. The ingredients, flavors and the tastes of its cuisines are distinctive and versatile.

Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bath, piping hot rava idlis, dosas, sheera, Jolada rotti, Chapati, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Huli, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Davanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu.

A typical Kannadiga Oota (Kannadiga meal) includes the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf: Uppu(salt), Kosambari, Pickle, Palya, Gojju, Raita, Dessert (Yes, it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert - Paaysa), Thovve, Chitranna, Rice and Ghee.

Mess

There is very tasty and homely Marwari / Jain food is available in the "nearby mess"[Where is it? Probably in the spartan accomodation at the west of town...], I strongly suggest you plan your lunch here in one of these since its a different experience.

Small stores / Street food

Along the road that connects the bus station with town on the northern end of the pond are a number of small sit-down restaurants with limited fare. Opposite these are street food.

Hotel Raghu

Hotel Raghu on the main street has a clean and efficient restaurant on the ground floor with flawlessly attentive service. They serve most South Indian dishes including poori, idli, vada and masala dosa for breakfast (note that daily availability varies) and Kanadiga Oota (ie: 'meal' or thali) during lunch times and dinner. The thali was hands down the best I'd had in over two months in India. I was so happy here I stayed at the hotel for four days and gleefully had one or two of these every day - really, it's that good (and only 60 rupees) -do not miss out!

Drink

Water in India:

Most of India's tap water is unhealthy for consumption. Restaurants will offer treated drinking water, but it’s advisable for visitors to always drink bottled and packaged water. Bottled water in India comes in two types- packaged drinking water (Bisleri/kinley brands), and pure mineral water such as the (Bisleri Himalaya). There is a difference between them. Packaged drinking water ( is water that has been treated and made healthy for consumption, while mineral water has been obtained from its natural underground or pristine river sources and hygienically bottled. Natural mineral water is expensive and costs twice as much as packaged water. Both are safe to drink, although mineral water is better as it is chemical free.

In Shravanabelagola's context it is better you carry a small bottle of water while you do the climb. There are no shops up the hill.

Tender Coconut

Tender Coconut Water:

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts (fruits of the coconut palm). A very young coconut has very little meat, and the meat is very tender, almost a gel. Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the in south India.

Freshly harevested tender coconut is sold in stalls at the foot of the hill. Drink refreshing “Tender Coconut Water” after the decent to rejuvenate.

Sleep

If you plan to stay overnight at Shravanabelagola, you can stay at:


  • Hotel Raghu, Main Rd, Shravanabelagola, South India. + 91 08176-257238, No. of Rooms: 20
  • Hotel Yatri Nivas, Main Rd, Shravanabelagola, South India. +91 08176- 257923, No. of Rooms: 09
  • Inspection Bungalow, Shravanabelagola, South India. +91 08176- 57258
  • S.D.J.M.I. Committee, Shravanabelagola, South India. +91 08176- 257258 & 257293, Rooms: 75, Dormitory: 10
  • VIP Guest House, Shravanabelagola, South India. +91 08176- 257277


Good Hotels are also available at Channarayapatna (13 km away) and at Hassan (52 km away)

At Hassan you can stay at any of the following Hotels:-

  • Hotel Hassan Ashok..B.M.Road, Hassan. Tel:68731
  • Kotari Hotels. Station Road, Hassan,
  • Hotel Suvarna Arcade, B.M.Road, Hassan. Tel: 67422/67433
  • Hoysala Village Resort, Handinkere, Belur Road, Hassan 573 201, India. Telephone No: +91 08172 256764/793/795. Fax: 08172-256 065. Email: hvr@trailsindia.com

Get out

  • Dharmastala - Belur - Halibeedu - Shravanabelagola would complete a brief Heritage tour of southern Karnataka. They call Belur, Halebidu and Shravanabelagola as the triangle eloquence in stone and are nominated to be UNESCO World Heritage centers.
  • Dharmastala is a renowned pilgrimage destination where Manjunatha Swamy temple is situated.
  • Belur (Kannada: ಬೇಲೂರು) is a historic town in Hassan district of Karnataka state
  • Halebidu is a town in Hassan district of Karnataka. It is famous for its Hoysaleswara temple which is listed as one of the world heritage centers.
  • Bangalore— Karnataka capital. Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is one of the most hip and happening cities in India and also a major center of the I.T. industry



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