Jain World

Sub-Categories of Passions - The Sacred Sravana - Belagola






As stated earlier, the village Sravana-Belagola lies pictures-quely between the Vindhyagiri Hill and the Chandragiri Hill, Like these two hills, the village, though small, has got a number of shrines in addition to some important objects of interest.

1) Bhandari Basti : This is largest temple at Sravana-Belagola, measuring about 266 feet by 78 feet. The temple is dedicated to the twenty-four Tirthankars and is hence known as the �Chaturvmsati-tirthankara-Basti�, The �garbhagrha� i.e. the inner-hall of the temple has figures of the twenty- four Tirthankaras, each about 3 feet high, standing in a line on a long ornamental pedestal. There are three doorways, the middle one being well-carved with large perforated screens at the sides of each. The figure opposite the middle doorway is Vasupujya, the twelfth Tirthankara, with eleven figures to its right and twelve to the left. Outside the �garbharha� there are also figures of Padmavati, the Yakshni, i.e., the female guardian deity. and of Brahma, the Yaksha, i.e. the male guardian deity, In the front of the temple there is a fine �Manastambha�, i.e. a tall elegant pillar with a pavillion at the top containing four images facing the four directions.

The temple is popularly known as �Bhandari Basti�, because it was erected by Hulla-Raja, the General and the �bhandari�, i.e., the treasure of the king Narasimha I ( 1141-1173 A.D.) of the Hoyasala dynasty. From inscriptions Nos. 345 and 349 it is evident that the temple was built in 1159 A. D. and that the king Na rasimha I, gave the name of �Bhavya-Chudamani� temple and granted for its upkeep the village Sovaneru. The inscription No. 345 speaks of it thus : � The General Hulla-Raja gladly caused this excellent Jina temple to be built with all adjuncts so that people said that it was a charming ornament of Gommatapura. Together with its enclosure, dancing hall, two fine strongly built large Jaina dwellings at the sides, and mansion with doorways resplendent with various elegant ornaments of foliage and figures, the matches temple of Chaturvimsati-Tirthankaras, resembling a mass of religious merit, was thus completed by Hulla- Raja. � For constructing this remarkable Jaina Matha building of the village and for his pious and strict religious behavior, the State Treasurer and General Hulla Raja was given the title of �Samyktva-Chudamani�.

2. Akkana Basti : This is the only temple in the village built in the Hoyasala style of architecture. On the central pedestal there is a standing figures, about 5 feet high, of parsvantha, the 23rd Tirthankara, sheltered by a seven hooded serpent. There are also fine figures of Dharanendra and Padmavati, the Yaksha and Yakshi of this Tirthankara. The hall of the temple has four beautiful black stone pillars ornamented with bead work and nine elegantly executed ceilings which are nearly two feet deep. The pillars are polished and have shining surface like those of the famous Parvanatha temple at Bastihalli near Halebid. The tower of the temple has on its front embankment a beautiful panel very artistically carved with scroll work and surmounted by a lions head. The panel has a seated Jina figure in the center and the embankment has at its sides figures of Saraswati.

From the inscription No. 327 it is clear that the temple was erected in 1181 A. D. by the Jaina lady Achiyakka, wife of Chandramauli, the Brahmani Minister of the Hoyasala king Ballala II and that the king granted for its upkeep the village Bammeyanahalli. The temple is called Akkana Basti, which is shortened form of Achiyakkana Basti, that is, the Basti founded by lady Achiyakka.

3. Siddhanta Basti : It is situated in the west enclosure of Akkana-Basti. It is so called because all the important books bearing on the Jaina � Siddhanta,� i.e., basic philosophy, were once secured in a dark room of this temple. It is said that at some remote period �Dhavala,� �Jaydhavala� and other rare philosophical works were carried away from this temple of Mudabidri, the sacred place and the seat of �Bhattarka�, in the South Kanara District of Karnataka. It appears that the great authors and saints like Acharya Nemichandra must have taken advantage of this rare treasure of philosophical works preserved in the temple.

4. Danasale Basti : This a small temple situated near the entrance to the Akkana-Basti. It enshrines a �Pancha-Parameshthi� image, about 3 feet high. It is recorded that Dodda-deva-Raja-odeyar ( 1659-1972 A.D.) , the king of my sore, made a grant of the village Madaneya for the upkeep of this temple at the instance of his prime Chikka-Deva-Raja-Odeyar and during the latter�s visit to Sravana-Belagola.

5. Nagara-Jinalaya : It is small temple dedicated to Adinatha, the first Tirthankara, from the inscription No. 335 in the temple it is evident that it was caused to be erected in 1195 A. D. by the minister Nagadeva of the Hoyasala King Ballaja II ( 1173 � 1220 A.D.). The temple was named � Nagra-Jinalya�, because the �Nagara�, i.e., city merchants were its supporters. It also appears to have borne another name �Shri-nilaya�.

6. Mangayi Basti : This plain temple is dedicated to Shantinatha, the 16th Tirthanikara. In front of the temple are two well carved elephant. Inscription Nos. 339 and 341 state that the temple was caused to be built by Mangayi of Belugula, a disciple of Abhinava-Charukirty-Pandita-charya and crest jewel of royal dancing girls, and that it was named �Tribhuvana Chudamani� temple. It was built in 135 A. D. Further, the inscription No. 337 on the pedestal states that the statue was caused to be made by Bhima-Devi, a lay disciple of Charukriti Panditacharya and the queen of Deva-Raya-Maharaya. This Deva-Raya was most probably the Vijaynagar King Deva-Raya I ( 1406 � 1416 A.D.)

7. Jaina Matha : The Jaina Matha, which is the central place of residence of Bhattarak Charukirti, is pretty structure with an open courtyard in the middle. It was an one-storey structure and by 1910 A. D., an upper storey was added to the building the pillars of the porch are elegantly carved. The Matha has three cells standing in a line, facing, west, which contain the metal and stone images that are daily worshipped. These images appear to have been presented by the people of Tamil Nadu during 1850 to 1858 A. D. The remarkable features of the Matha is the wall paintings illustrating mostly scenes from the lives of some Tirthankaras and the Jaina King Nagakumara. In the Metha there are eight idols made out of precious stones like ruby, sapphire, coral and emerald. * ( Recently the work of extention of the Matha building was carried out in June 1980 by Constructing in Modern style a two-storeyed structure known as Bhattaraka Bhavana. )