Shravanabelagola is a Jain pilgrimage situated in the Hassan district of Karnataka state of India. It is a hilly terrain housing a giant statue of Lord Gomateshwara towering over the town. The place famous for its innumerable temples is also blessed with greenery and serene ponds. Its Kannada name Shravanabelagola translates to ‘a white pond of Sravana’ as ‘bel’ means white, and ‘kola’ means pond, which points to a beautiful pond in the town. Shravanabelagola, also known as Jainakashi, bears ancient and religiously important scripts carved on different hillsides. The Karnataka Archeological Department has excavated around eight hundred unique inscriptions from the site that belongs to Jainism, which originated in the 600 to 1830 A.D.
The town accommodates two hills, namely Chandragiri and Vindyagiri. Here the statue of Gomateshwara is erected on the Vindyagiri Hill by King Chandrayana of the Ganga Dynasty. It is believed that monks used to seek sanctuary at the site to meditate and attain salvation. Standing 58.8 feet tall, Lord Gomateshwara, also called Bahubali, is adorned with thousands of liters of milk, panchamruta, sandalwood, turmeric, saffron, vermilion, and holy water, every twelve years as part of their grand celebration called Mahamastakabhiseka. This ceremony is believed to shower eternal happiness to humankind. The terrain’s name Vindhyagiri remained unchanged even after the town name was converted to Gomatapura in the late 10th century. The name "Vindhyagiri '' is derived from Sanskrit words ‘Vim’ meaning spirit and ‘Dhya’ as meditation, describing the spot as a favorite abode for monks to practice penance on the supreme spirit. The hill, located about 3,288 feet from mean sea level and 438 feet above the ground, holds a Bahubali statue of 58.8 feet in height. High and heavy granite mass forms its pedestal, making 614 steps to reach the structure erected atop the hill.
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