Shravanabelagola is one of the oldest pilgrimage centre held in high esteem by Jains. It is located in the Dharmasthala district of Karnataka. It is surrounded by Indragiri and Chandragiri hills. Devotees flock to the city to see the monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwar Bahubali. Towering to 17 m, this statue is the tallest statue in the world. Surprisingly the beautiful statue was carved out of a single rock. It was made by Chamundaraya, a minister of King Rachamatta of Ganga dynasty in 983 A.D. The statue is located in the known Manjunath Temple. It symbolizes victory over earthly desires.
The legend goes that Gomatesheshwara was a prince named Bahubali. His elder brother Bharata nurtured a selfish desire to conquer the kingdom of Bahubali. Bahubali fought to save his kingdom. However, seeing so much bloodshed, Babuli decided to surrender although he was about to win. This incident changed his perspective of life and he decided to leave all the worldly possessions. After that he lived a very simple life. Finally he attained enlightenment.
The famous festival Mahamastakabhisheka is dedicated to Lord? Gomatesheshwara. It is the celebration of the transformation of Prince Bahubali into Saint Gomateshwara. It is held in every twelve years. During the festival the statue is anointed with honey, almonds, saffron, sandalwood, coconut milk, dates, bananas, poppy seeds and ghee.
Other major highlight of Shravanabelagola is its 500 inscriptions. Written in several languages, these inscriptions were of great help to the historians. Also mentioned in these inscriptions is the development of several kingdoms such as Rashtrakutas, Hoysala, Ganga, Vijayanagara and Wodeyars.