Shravanabelagola is a town in the state of Karnataka in India. It has two hills. The smaller one, called Chandragiri, has a Hindu Temple Complex on top. The other hill, the Vindhyagiri, is more famous, and is one of the great pilgrimage sites for followers of the Jain religion. It is known for the temple on top with a giant monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, also called Bahubali, the son of the first tirtankara of the Jain religion. There are several smaller shrines (called basadis in Karnataka) on the hill. The climb to the top of this hill is a challenge, but it is undertaken by tourists and pilgrims of all ages and many faiths in great numbers. Here are some pictures from our climb.
The first picture was taken near the start of the climb. As you may notice, the steps are carved into the rock and are quite uneven. You also have to leave your footwear at the bottom before you start up the hill. On a hot day one might have to wear socks to be able to walk on the hot rock. At this point in the climb you cannot see the temples at the top of the hill.The climb is quite steep.Along the way you get a good view of the town’s water tank, the belagola (white pond), and the smaller Chandragiri hill.You want to keep a good hold on the railing while climbing!There is a flat area and a place for a temporary stop after the first section of the climb.The next section of the climb is shorter.
There is an additional short section that needs to be climbed before reaching the main temple where the statue of Bahubali is located. They were in the process of preparing for the Mahamastakabhisheka, a Jain festival that is held once every 12 years.
This is the logo of the 2018 festival, courtesy of Wikipedia.We found a Jain priest at the foot of the statue who was blessing the devotees of different faiths who came up to him with offerings.This is the view of the town from the level of the temple.Then we were on our way back down to the intermediate level. There were some folks who insisted on sliding down the railing.A closeup of the Chandragiri temple complex across town.One of the artifacts on the hill. I am not sure what exactly it is.On our way down to the bottom of the hill.This was a unique experience and a visit recommended for anybody in decent physical shape.