Shravanabelagola, Weekend Getaway from Bangalore
- State: Karnataka
- Location: Sravanabelagola's twin hills rise out of a flat expanse in the southernmost reaches of the Deccan Plateau
- Distance: 155 km West of Bangalore
- Journey Time: 4 hrs by road, 2 1/4 hrs + 2 hrs by rail
- Route: NH4 to Nelamangala; NH48 to Channarayapatna via Kunigal; SH to Sravanabelagola
Located in the Hassan District of Karnataka state, Shravanabelagola. Situated at a distance of 150 km from Bangalore, the town is one of the oldest Jain pilgrimage spots of the country. Between Indragiri and Chandragiri hills, the town has picturesque natural settings as well to offer its tourists. The city can trace its history back to 3rd century B.C. when Chandragupta Maurya wandered to the place in search of peace after handing over his empire to his son Bimbisara.
At the bald rock of Vindhyagiri Hill, you will find 17.5m high statue of the Jain deity Gomateshwara (Bahubali) which is considered to be the world’s tallest monolithic statue. The statue is visible even before you reach the town of Shravanabelagola. The statue is an architectural wonder and sculptural mastery under famous Gangas of Talakad. There are religious inscriptions carved on the outer surface.
The statue has represents the story of saint Bahubali (Gomateshwara). According to popular religious beliefs, the naked form of statue represents saint’s complete victory over the worldly desires. The legend attached to the statue states that Gomateshwara was previously a Jain who fought a long battle with his elder brother Bharata who sought to usurp his kingdom.
However, later in spite of going towards the victorious path, he accepted defeat after seeing the he futility of the war. He left all the worldly pleasures then and lead a life of severe penance and meditation. He is said to have attained 'Nirvana' (salvation) in the end.
The day of his great sacrifice is now celebrated as Mahamastakabhisheka festival. The festival is held once in 12 years. During this festival, the statue of Bahubali is anointed with 1008 consecrated pots of water along with plenty of honey, almonds, saffron, sandalwood, coconut milk, dates, bananas, poppy seed, ghee and even gold and silver coins.
The festival was last celebrated in February 2006. The next ceremony will be held in the year of 2018. It attracts thousands of devotees and tourists from all over the world.
Places to visit in Sravanabelagola
Apart from saint Bahubali’s statue, the town has various other sightseeing places as well to offer its tourists with. There are several Jain bastis (temples) and monasteries which are worth visiting and presents architectural examples. Bhandari Basti and Chandragupta Basti are of historical importance. Chandragiri Hill which is located nearby is also a major tourist attraction.
Best time to visit Shravanabelagola
Although, the climate is pleasant throughout the year, the best time to visit Sravanabelagola is from October to April. Visiting during the months from June to September offer tourists with amazing natural settings as well along with the interesting places of sightseeing.
How to reach Shravanabelagola
Reaching Shravanabelagola by Air:
The nearest airport to Shravanabelagola is Bangalore International airport which is at a distance of about 170 km away. You can hire taxi from Bangalore airport to Sravanabelagola.
Reaching Shravanabelagola by Train:
The nearest railway station is at Hassan which is 52 km away from Shravanabelagola. Hassan is well connected to railway stations of other cities of the country. from here, you can opt for taxi services.
Reaching Shravanabelagola by Bus:
There are KSRTC buses services operating between Shravanabelagola and other major cities of the state. You also have private luxury buses from Bangalore to Shravanabelagola.