Gomateshwara Temple / Bahubali Statue
Historical | Pilgrimage
At a distance of 1 km from Shravanabelagola Bus Station, Bahubali Gomateshwara Temple is very famous for the Bahubali Statue which is the tallest monolithic stone statue in the world with a height of 58 feet. The temple is built on top of a Vindhyagiri Hill at an altitude of 3347 feet. A flight of 620 steps provide access to this temple from the entrance near the pond. Gomateshwara Temple is among the prime places to visit in Shravanabelagola.
This image was created during the period of Chamundaraya, a minister of the Ganga King Rajamalla between 982 and 983 CE. The eyes of the statue are open as if viewing with work without any detachment. The statue has an ant hill behind, representing Gomatha's long penance. Creeper emerges from the ant hill adorning his legs and arms. The entire figure stands on an open lotus.
On either side of Bahubali, two standing figures of Chauri bearers called Yaksha and Yakshi appear in his service. There is a large pillared mandapa around the statue which has 43 carved images of Jain Teerthankaras. Gangaraja, a general of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana has erected these mandapas. The bottom part of the statue has kannada inscriptions. The main temple is surrounded by a large outer wall which has carved images of Jain figures, Monkeys, Lion, Fishes, Cow and female figures carved all along the wall.
The Mahamastakabhishekam festival is held once in 12 years. The main attraction of this festival is the anointing of Lord Bahubali's statue with milk, curd, ghee, sugar, almonds, kesar and flowers. The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in Feb 2018.
The marble statue of Chandra Natha Theerthankara placed in an enclosure within the same complex of Gomateswara Temple is beautiful.
There are several Jain basadis on Vindhyagiri Hill including Tyagada Brahma Pillar, Siddhara Basadi, Odegal Basadi, Chennanna Basadi and Chauvvisa Tirthankara Basadi. The Siddhara Basadi and Gullekayi Ajji Mandapa are just outside the main temple of Gomateswara.
It takes about 2-3 hours to climb up the hill, visit all monuments and come down. Dolis are available at the entrance of the hill that charge about Rs. 800 including return. Early morning is the best time to visit the hill. The hill offers beautiful view of the Shravanabelagola village, Temple pond and Chandragiri hill.
Timings: 6:30 AM to 6 PM