Shravanabelagola (Kannada: ಶ್ರವಣಬೆಳಗೊಳ) is a city located in the Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka and is 158 km from Bangalore. The statue of Gomateshwara or Bahubali, at Shravanabelagola is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centers. It reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Gangas of Talakad.


Shravanabelagola is situated in 12°-51' north latitude and 76°-29' east longitude. It is located at 13 km to the south-east of Channarayapatna in the Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district of Karnataka state. It is at a distance of 51 km south-east of Hassan, the district centre. It is situated at a distance of 12 km to the south from the Bangalore-Mangalore road (NH-48), 78 km from Halebidu, 89 km from Belur, 83 km from Mysore, 233 km from Mangalore, 17 km from Hirisave and 157 km from Bangalore the capital of Karnataka. It is well connected with State Highways and District roads.

Deriving of the Name

Shravanabelagola which is also known as "the white pond of the Sravana" or "the Jain monk" is named with reference to the colossal Jain image of the place and its prefix Shravana that also serves to distinguish it from other Belgolas with the prefixes Hale and Kodi. The derivation of the word 'Belagola' appears to have been from the two Kannada words Bel (white) and Kola (pond) in allusion to the beautiful pond in the middle of the town. The Sanskrit equivalents Sveta-sarovara, Dhavala sarovara and Dhavala-saras used in the inscriptions that support the derivation of this word from the two Kannada words. Some inscriptions mention the name of the place as Belgula (or also Belugula and Belagula) which have given rise to another derivation from the plant called white gulla (Solanum ferox). This derivation is in allusion to a tradition which says that a pious old woman completely anointed the colossal image with the milk brought by her in a gullakayi or gulla fruit. The place is also designated as Devara Belagola (Belgola of the God) and Gommatapura (the city of Gommata, the name of the colossus) in some epigraphs. Further, the epithet Dakshinakasi or southern Kasi is applied to it in some modern records.


There are two hills, Chandragiri (Chikkabetta) and Vindyagiri. The last shruta-kevali, Bhadrabahu Swami, and his pupil, Chandragupta Maurya (formerly the King), is believed to have meditated there.Chandragupta Basadi, which was dedicated to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, was originally built there by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC. Chandragiri also has memorials to numerous monks and shravakas, who have meditated there since the fifth century AD, including the last King of the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Manyakheta. Chandragiri also has a famous temple built by Chamundaraya, who was a disciple of Acharya Nemichandra


The 57 feet monolithic statue of the Bhagavan Gomateshwara Bahubali is located on the Vindyagiri.It is considered to be the world's largest monolithic stone statue and was erected by Chamundaraya, a general of King Gangaraya. The base of the statue has an inscriptions in Kannada and Tamil, as well as the oldest evidence of written Marathi, dating from 981 AD.The inscription praises the Ganga king who funded the effort, and his general Chamundaraya, who erected the statue for his mother. Every twelve years, thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka, a spectacular ceremony in which the statue is covered with milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins . The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in 2018.


More than 800 inscriptions have been found at Shravanabelagola, dating to various times from 600 to 1830. A large number of these are found in the Chandragiri and the rest can be seen in the Indragiri and the town. Most of the inscriptions at the Chandragiri date back before the 10th century. These inscriptions include texts in the Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Konkani, Marwari and Mahajani languages. The second volume of Epigraphia Carnatica, written by Benjamin L. Rice, is dedicated to the inscriptions found here.

The inscriptions are written in various Halagannada (Old Kannada) and Purvahalagannada (Pre-Old Kannada) characters. Some of these inscriptions mention the rise and growth in power of Gangas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar empire and Mysore Wodeyars. These inscriptions have helped modern scholars to understand the nature and development of the Kannada language and its literature.

On August 5, 2007, the statue of Shravanbelagola was voted by the readers of Times of India (an English Daily) as the first of Seven Wonders of India. 49% votes went in favor of this 1000-plus year old statue.

Other notable things

Shravanabelagola is the seat of the ancient Bhattaraka Math, belonging to the Desiya Gana lineage of Mula Sangh, from the Digambar monstic tradition. The Bhattarakas are all named Charukirti.

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Lakshmi Devi Temple, Doddagaddavalli

The Lakshimi Devi temple is located in Doddagaddavalli, a village in Hassan District of Karnataka state, India. It is located 16 km from Hassan and lies on the route to the famous temple town, Belur. The town's main attraction, the Lakshmi Devi temple, was built by the Hoysalas in the year 1114 CE during the rule of king Vishnuvardhana. The temple is situated amidst pristine coconut plantations and has a lake at its rear which adds to the scenic beauty.

Lakshmi Devi temple

It is one of the earliest known temples built in Hoysala style and is built with Chloritic schist or Soapstone. The temple does not stand on a jagati (platform) which became popular in later Hoysala temples. The temple is said to have been built by a merchant called Kullahana Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi. The temple is a chatuskuta construction (four towers) built inside a 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) stone enclosure with the entrance through a porch which is supported by circular lathe turned pillars.Three of the vimanas (shrines) have a common square mantapa (hall) with 9 bays.The fourth vimana is connected to the mantapa via an oblong extension consisting of 2 bays. The extension also has two lateral entrances into the temple. All the vimana have their original tower (superstructure) intact. The towers are in Kadamba nagara style. Each vimana has a vestibule connecting it to the central mantapa. On top of the vestibule is its own tower called sukanasi (or nose which looks like low extension of the main tower over the shrine). The sukanasi is a tier lower than the main tower over the shrine. All the four sukanasi are intact and so are the kalasa of the main towers.The sukanasi holds the Hoysala emblem of Sala fighting the tiger. Of the four towers, three are undecorated and they look stepped pyramidal with a pile of dented horizontal mouldings with the kalasa on top. The fourth tower is very well decorated which is typical of Hoysala designs and is the tower of the main shrine that houses the Lakshmi Devi image.

The mantapa is open and square. The reason for the square plan is the presence of shrines on all four sides of the mantapa with no side open for staggering.There is a separate fifth shrine of Bhairava, an avatar of Lord Shiva. The shrine is complete with its own vimana and tower with a kalasa on top, a nose and Hoysala emblem on the it. Another unusual feature of the temple is the existence of four more shrines at each corner of the temple complex with two sides of each shrine attached to the courtyard wall. Each of these minor shrines has its own tower, kalasa and Hoysala emblem. On the whole the temple complex has nine towers which is unusual for a Hoysala temple.

Overall the temple has the older Hoysala style where there is only one eaves running round the temple where the main towers meet the wall of the shrine. At the base of the wall of the shrines are 5 mouldings and between the mouldings and the eaves, the usual panels of Hoysala sculptures depicting Hindu gods, goddesses and their attendants is missing. Instead, the whole space is taken up by decorative miniature towers on pilasters. The ceiling of the main hall is supported by 18 lathe-turned pillars. Inside there are two sculptures of large demonic living corpses called betala. The main shrine facing east has a 3-foot-tall (0.91 m) image of goddess Lakshmi with an attendant on either side. In her four hands, the image holds a conch in the upper right hand, a chakra (discuss) in the upper left, a rosary in the lower right and a mace in the lower left. In the shrines facing north, south and west are the idols of Kali, Vishnu, and Boothanatha Linga (the universal symbol of Shiva). A sculpture of Tandaveswara (dancing Shiva) exists in the circular panel at the center of the ceiling of the mantapa. Other important sculptures are those of Gajalakshmi (form of Lakshmi), Thandaveshwara and Yoganarasimha (form of Vishnu) found on the doorway of the temple.

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Halebidu (Kannada ಹಳೆಬೀಡು) is located in Hassan District, Karnataka, India. Halebidu (which was previously called Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra) was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. It is home to one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture in the ornate Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples. Halebidu literally means ruined city. This name is given because this city was ruined two times by Bahmani Sultanate.


Halebidu was the 12th century capital of the Hoysalas. The Hoysaleswara temple was built during this time by Ketamala and attributed to Vishnuvardhana,the Hoysala ruler. It enshrines Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, named after the temple builder Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Shantala.

Then it was sacked by the armies of Malik Kafur in the early 14th century, after which it fell into a state of disrepair and neglect.

Currently Halebidu is facing serious problems of decaying infrastructure, including a lack of basic amenities like toilets and drinking water. The temples are said to be in a dilapidated state.

Temple Complex

Hoysaleswara temple:

he temple complex comprises two Hindu temples, the Hoysaleshawara and Kedareshwara temples and two Jain basadi. In front of these temples there is a big lake. The town gets its name the from the lake, Dwara samudhra which means entrance from ocean . The two Nandi statues which are on the side of the Hoysaleshwara temple are monolithic. Soap stone or Chloritic Schist was used for the construction of these temples. However a number of sculptures in the temple are destructed by invaders. So the temple is incomplete. Halebid means old abode. There is an archeological museum in the temple complex.

The Hoysaleswara temple, dating back to the 1121 C.E., is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and Shilabalikas or dancing figures. Yet no two sculptures of the temple are the same. This magnificent temple guarded by a Nandi Bull was never completed, despite 86 years of labour. The Jain basadi nearby are equally rich in sculptural detail. Belur and Halebid are 222 and 216 km from Bangalore, respectively. This temple is now being proposed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Halebidu is just 16 km away from the one more historical place Belur. It is well connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. There are regular buses to Hassan. The distance is 149 km to Mysore and 31 km to Hassan.

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Belur (Kannada: ಬೇಲೂರು, bēlũru, or Beluru) is a Town Municipal Council in Hassan district in the state of Karnataka, India.


Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. With Halebidu which is only 16 km away, this is one of the major tourist destinations in Karnataka, India. Belur is located in Hassan district. According to inscriptions discovered here, it was also referred to as Velapuri.

The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakesava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple ( dedicated to Chennakeshava , meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana.

There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god.

The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana's grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari ( Lady with the mirror ) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attraction in complex.

This temple along with Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jaina monuments at Shravanabelagola are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

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Photos: Shashidhar.B.S.-Bangalore
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Sakleshapur or Sakaleshpura (ಸಕಲೇಶಪುರ) in Kannada is a taluk in Hassan district in the South Indian state of Karnataka.
The town is in Western Ghats (Malnad). It has a temperate climate. Coffee, Cardmom, pepper grown in surrounding villages are brought to Sakleshpura for sale. The town lies on National Highway 48 (NH-48), And the only town in Western Ghat which is connected through Rail. Which connects Mangalore with Bangalore.


Sakaleshpur receives very heavy rainfall from the southwest monsoons.


The name shakala is a Sanskrit word means "Bhinnavada" or "Birukada". In the past a shivalinga found in this town which was broken.The linga was called as shakaleshwara which since then became sakaleshwara in the tongue of the local people. A temple was also built at the entrance of the town. Later town was also called as sakaleshapura.
Another theory is that it was sakala Aishwaryagalinda kudida pura literally meaning the place that has all kinds of wealth (for e.g. Water(River), Coffee, Cardamom, Pepper, Hill Station, Education, Rail head, Road links, etc). Sakaleshwara swami's rata yatra is held on Purmima in February of every year.
In front of the Shakaleshwara temple, a newly constructed shiva temple called as "Holemalleshvara" is situated right next to river Hemavathi. During the rainy season the temple is filled up with water and is as famous as the Shakaleshwara temple.

Agriculture & commerce

The primary mode of employment in the Sakleshpur region is agriculture. Crops grown include coffee, rice, pepper, cardamom, ginger and tea with coffee being dominant. Sakleshpur coffee is shade grown on the slopes of the Western Ghats as the elevation is not high enough to enable the intensive cultivation practices followed in the Brazilian and Colombian highlands. But shade cultivation is acclaimed by environmentalists rather than sunlight cultivation followed in Ethiopia and other African Coffee growing nations, as western ghats runs through Sakaleshpura, Large timer yielding trees such as Rose wood and jackfruit trees provide shade for these coffee bushes.
Coffee growers are typically small farm owners with plantation sizes ranging from 10 acres (40,000 m2) to a couple of hundred acres to even 10 thousand acres as in Kaadumane Estate. Of late, several corporations such as Tata,IBC Group and the TI group have adopted large scale cultivation. The larger plantations process and market the coffee themselves in the domestic and international markets.
Sakleshpur Taluk accounts for around a third of Indian cardamom production.


Sakleshpur is located in the Western Ghats, a mountain range that stretches from Kerala to Gujarat. The southern range, which includes Bisle reserve forest and the region around Sakleshpur is listed as one of the 18 most diverse spots in the world in terms of flora and fauna. The sub-tropical climate and heavy rains during the wet season create an environment where several unique plant and animal species flourish. With people of Karnataka being very hospitable, the tourism industry is increasingly embracing the Bed & Breakfast model and now offers several choices for a weekend getaway.


The Manjarabad fort is located just outside of Sakleshpur on National Highway 48. The fort is reputed to have been constructed by Tippu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore as a strategic defensive location as it commands the approach to the plateau beyond Sakleshpur from the coast.It is also believed that he had constructed a tunnel from this fort to another fort in Srirangapattana near Mysore


The Green Route "Trek on the Railway Track", as it is well known, is a stretch of track from Sakleshpur to the Subramanya Road Station, which was closed down in 1996 to convert the gauge from Meter to Broad Gauge.
This track, that traverses some distance of the Western Ghats, had been abandoned, but now the track is being converted to broad-gauge. It forms a part of 56.80 km stretch from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subrahmanya, dotted by 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and about 25 waterfalls. Part of this popular trek route is mapped at TripNaksha. So, for all you trekking freaks, this is the place to be in. Walking along these bridges, towering over 200 feet valleys is a thrilling experience since these tracks do let you look down to have view of the valley beneath(many lack the wooden reapers) . Since 2005 goods trains are carrying freight to/from the Mangalore Port. Its recommended to trek after monsoon season i.e. during October. The passenger trains have started plying on the route since 2008.
Another place to trek in Sakleshpur taluk is Bisle ghat or Bisle reserve forest.
The town itself makes for a pleasant halfway stop for travellers along National Highway 48—being the apex town in a long trail of road beginning in Bantwal near Mangalore, winding its way up the Western Ghats. As such, the town is often swathed in mist as the cool temperate surroundings are met with warm air from the coastal lowlands. The exit highway is equally picturesque with tall hedges lining both sides of the road, enclosing coffee groves within.
Kumara Parvatha, also called KP by trekkers is a challenging hike.

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Photos: Chethan. K-Mangalore
Information Courtesy: Wikipedia