The city of Shravanabelagola, about 150 kms from Bangalore, is home to one of the world’s largest monolithic statues. The 57 foot statue of Bahubali (one of the 7 wonders of India), a Jain ascetic,carved out of a single granite block in the 10th century, stands on the Vindhyagiri hill, about 430 ft above the ground.
According to legend, the 2 brothers Bharat and Bahubali (Bahu –arms, bali – strength) sons of a great King, Rishaba, once had a personal contest – a fight for land and power. During the fight, Bahubali suddenly realised the foolishness and futility of the contest and decided to give up his kingdom for ascetic life.
He meditated for months, unmindful of the vines and ant hills growing on him and finally attained salvation.He then began teaching the path to righteousness and is worshipped even today as a siddha, a saint who overcame the human foibles of pride, greed and anger.
Monks belonging to a certain sect of Jainism give up all worldly possessions, including clothes. In keeping with this culture, the saint is shown here in the nude.
The arduous and steep climb up the hill of Vindhyagiri (around 600 steps)
The pond, after which the city is named – belagola meaning white pond. (Though its no longer white!)
The Jain temple at the foot of the hill.
Halfway up. We had to pause to catch our breath!
Tyagada kambha – An open pavilion with a central carved pillar
The colossal 57 foot statue
The priest offering ‘prasad’ (food offered first to the deity and then consumed)
Frizztext’s A-Z story Challenge: Letter S