India has a rich cultural and historical heritage to offer, thanks to its glorious past and influence from different cultures. Each and every monument/heritage site has its own fascinating story to tell.
From past 2 months, my focus is on exploring the historical places in and around Bangalore and its amazing that there is so much to explore, which I never knew existed before or simply dint pay much attention to. So now we are trying to utilize weekends to explore heritage of Ancient India surrounding us.
Few weekends ago, we visited two beautiful temples in Kolar – Kotilingeshwara and Aavani. Last weekend, we decided to visit yet another popular destination around 144 kms from Bangalore – Shravanbelgola.
Shravanbelgola is a small town and an eminent heritage site located near Hassan district in Karnataka state. Shravanbelgola is the most renowned Jain pilgrimage in South India. Major attraction at Shravanbelgola is the 10th Century Bahubali or Gomateshwara statue, which is the world’s tallest monolithic statue made from single granite stone with the height of 58ft.
Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri are the two mountains that surround the entire town with a beautiful pond at the centre. Both the mountains enshrine beautiful temples at the top.
Famous Gomateshwara temple is located at the top of Vindhyagiri Mountain at an altitude of 3347 feet. You have to climb around 620 stairs to reach to the top but the splendid view makes the whole effort absolutely worth. Before I share our experience and other details. Here’s a bit of history about the temple.
Bahubali means ‘One with strong Arms’ was the son of first tirthankara of Jains, Adinath. A tussle took place between Bahubali and his brother Bharatha for the empire. Although Bahubali defeated his brother, he was not happy. Thus, he decided to give his kingdom to Bharatha and went to achieve moksha. He is said to have meditated motionless for one year in a standing posture and during this time, climbing plants grew around his legs. Bahubali is also called Gomateshwara. The Ganga dynasty minister and commander Chavundaraya built this statue in 983 AD
Our Day trip Experience
Our real plan was to start by 6 a.m. but we could hit the road only by 7 am, it’s always better to start as early as possible to avoid the heat and strong Sun. On the way, we stopped for breakfast at Kamat restaurant. Being a long weekend all the restaurants was very crowded and we had to wait for our turn to come.
However the roads throughout the journey were in good shape; we enjoyed the picturesque view of countryside during our drive. Sight of scattered green fields, ponds and palm trees on either side of the road under the clear blue sky was very relaxing and compels you to put the holiday cap on!
It took us around 4.5 hours to reach Shravanbelgola.We reached there around 11.30 a.m. In spite of it being the last week of December, it was quiet sunny and warm outside. Although clear blue skies offered a perfect set up for some amazing pictures but the thought of climbing, what looked like a steep flight of never-ending steps clouded our minds. And that too with a naughty toddler!
However since we were there already, there was no other way but to reach till the top.
Being a Holiday, entrance was very crowded especially with lot of school children. There was no entry fee. However once we reached near the stairs we realized that one has to climb the stairs without shoes (even for the kids). I panicked a little at this moment but then socks are available at the entrance for as less as INR 20.
Finally we gathered all the courage and started climbing, it was not very easy considering the steepness but not as difficult as we thought it would be. The only fact, which made it difficult for us, was that our 2-year-old decided to make it DIY experience and insisted on climbing on his own.
There are around 620 stairs, we stopped at couple of places to catch up some breath and enjoy the beautiful view of the city, the pond and Chandragiri hills. It took us around 20-25 mins to reach to the temple just below the main Gomateshwara temple. After visiting this temple, we reached an open area at the top of the mountain. Sitting here and admiring the spectacular view was one of the best parts of the trip. There are a couple of temples and structures on this mountain, along with the captivating view of the temples on the opposite hill.
After climbing the next set of steps, we reached the Gomateshwara temple entrance, but that’s still not the highest point. On either side of the entrance were two temples dedicated to Bahubali and his brother Bharatha. On one side there was an interesting rock carving depicting Jain saints with their followers.
As we followed our way further through some more stairs, the curiosity to see the world’s tallest Monolithic statue kept on growing. We still could not see it from the outside as the area was covered due to the preparations for Mahamastakabhishekam festival. A popular festival, which 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 and I could see that preparations were in full swing.
However once we entered the main temple, we could see the feet of Lord Bahubali statue. Moving a little further, there it was standing tall in the open sky.
The magnificent, 58 ft tall white statue had an anthill behind, Creeper emerging from the anthill adorning his legs and arms. The entire figure stands on an open lotus and it’s surrounded by a beautiful Mandapa. The fact that such a tall statue made of single granite stone during those times surely depicts the exemplary craftsmanship and architectural excellence.
After admiring the beauty of the temple and the view, it was time to return back. I would have definitely loved to sit there and spend some more time but our naughty little one was running around and we had to come down.
By the time we could come down it was already 2.30 p.m. Presence of strong sun exhausted us and we couldn’t muster courage to visit Chandragiri hills.
On our way back, we decided to visit yet another beautiful place called Shri Adi Chunchanagiri math. I will share the experience of the same in my next blog.
- Distance from Bangalore – 144 km
- Mode of travel – Buses, Cabs
- Temple timings – 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Best time to visit – November to January
- Entry fee – none, small fee to keep your shoes (you have to climb the mountain bare foot)
- Time required – A day trip is perfect
- What to carry – Since there is no shade, it’s better to carry hat, water bottle, socks, sunglasses, Camera
- What to see – Gomateshwara temple on Vindhyagirihill and Temples on Chandragiri hills. There are many other historical temples in the area that one can visit based on the time available.
51 thoughts on “A day outing from Bangalore – Gomateshwara Bahubali temple, Shravanbelogola”
Looks so nice!
It’s very beautiful place. It is our holy place. Whoever go there feel so fresh. It’s like a heaven. We have also recently visited temple.
It’s a very beautiful place. It’s our holy place. Whoever go there feel so fresh. In August we went there. It was an amazing experience. In February 2018 one amazing event is happening there. Please visit u will enjoy this place more at that time
I totally agree Surabhi.. I felt so much at peace inspire of crowd..felt like keep sitting there. I would love to attend the festival in February since its once in 12 year.it would be one of a kind I am sure
Yes u r right. This event happens once in 12 months. It is a beautiful event
Thanks I will attend than 😊
We went to Kalasa in the second week of Dec thinking we could get to Shravanabelagola on the way back but couldn’t. It’s sure on my list but will wait for the festival to get over. Great post Madhu 🙂
Thanks Preethika 😊 you should visit Shravanbelgola..btw I have not heard of Kalasa,where is that ?
i really hope i won’t come across as being ignorant, but most of hindu temples that i’ve visited, they usually have so many stairs that i wonder whether there’s any particular philosophy behind it. it would be great if maybe you can give me some insights about it. 🙂
Hey Marya, I think it’s like the more you struggle to reach the temple or god..the more it’s worth.
I really like to visit India after reading this post. So much history and different culture compared with European
You should definetly visit I am sure you will enjoy 😊
Thankyou Madhu. I enjoyed your day out and I have seen on DVD with Michael Wood – the ceremony where they pour rhe mild etc down the massive statue. It is very high but I did not realise you ahd to walk so far up the hill in th heat to get there. Your 2 year old son is a hero!
Thanks 😊 ya walking up hill was quite a task but once you reach it’s really amazing. My naughty toddler enjoyed the most 😊
How big is that pool? Looks really huge. This looks like a very historical place…it probably wouldn’t be enough to explore in two days? Thanks for the tips on what to bring and also for the virtual tour!
Ya it’s a pond , pretty big. It’s a 10th Century ancient temple. There are others in and around to explore too. Glad that you liked it 😊
I missed visiting it during my last trip. Nice sum up.
You wrote that you have to leave the shoes, it means climbing all those stairs barefoot or in socks?
Ya you have to climb without shoes. You can wear socks. That’s why I think one should visit only during winters
There really is nowhere else on Earth like India! I am sad that I didn’t visit Bangalore when I was there, but all the more reason to go back!
Ya you should plan and visit Bangalore ..there are many beautiful places in and around
It looks like awesome place to visit and also very popular. I understand crowds were not an obstacle to your travel plans. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Anita.ya it was a beautiful place. Crowd was ok aa once you reach the top it’s very peaceful and serene😊
India is high on my list! Great post!
I have less interest in temples as religious places but more for their architecture and history. I would like to see the large statue though. Also love climbing – the scenic views you get from the top are absolutely worth the climb. My recent day trip from Bangalore was a climb to Madhugiri hill.
Same here. I love these temples mostly for their beauty and the story behind. You should plan and visit Shravanbelgola as it’s both history as well as adventure 😊
This sounds and looks incredible, thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much Gloria☺
What a stunning view from the top! The statue is really spectular too, but, erm….quite revealing! I’ve never seen a Buddha statue that is anotomically correct before!
Hey kate. View was super awesome. This statue looks similar to that of Buddha but it’s not. Its actually worshipped by another religion called jainism,they follows Bhagwan mahavir 😊
Love your pictures! Seems like a cool place 🙂
Thanks Abby it’s a beautiful place 😊
I came to know about Bahubali first from the movie named Bahubali 🙂 I’m not sure whether that movie inspired by Lord Bahubali or not. Nice knowing for the first time about Gomateshwara Bahubali temple. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks nafisa. Actually some of my friends told me that the story is inspired by Lord Bahubali’s story 😊
I find it a little sad that I had to google where Bangalore was 😦
It really looks like a cool place. I can’t believe the statue was built before even 1000AD. It’s crazy to think about how old that is! This looks like an awesome day trip! Thanks for sharing
Thanks Addie. Yes it was an amazing trip and statue is just incredible 😊
I have always wanted to visit India. Looks like you had an amazing time.
Thanks Diana ,we had a great time and view was amazing. You should plan to visit soon
I really want to visit but no one wants to travel with me. They don’t want to travel that far. I’m going to have to find a travel partner and make it happen.
Hey Diana hope you could find a travel partner soon. In Bangalore and around I can give you company though😊
I am absolutely dying to visit India! As a yoga teacher, it’s the top of my list of countries to visit.
Hey Casey you should definetly plan to visit soon 😊
These pictures are stunning! I love learning about new places, great post 😀
Thanks so much Brittany 😊
This looks great! So good you are using the weekends to explore. I do the same thing. Sometimes, there is no other option than to visit a place during the holidays. But, I can see you had a good time even though there were others around.
Thanks Ruth. Ya I feel weekend is best time to explore places in and around and I am amazed that there is so much to explore which I never knew before
It must have been quite an experience to be up close and personal with such great history. I don’t know a lot about Bangalore or Shravanbelogola, so I’m learning a lot here! Awesome photos too.
Thank you very much for these valuable updates 🙂
next week i am going to bangalore with my family so finding best place to visit and read your article. Thanks for sharing good trip experience and also your post helped me find travel places in bangalore.
Hi Prabhu. Thanks so much. I am glad that you found by blog useful. There are so many places around bangalore.i am still exploring !hope you have a great trip !