1535-Shravanabelagola – India

Shravanabelagola is a town located near Channarayapatna of Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka and is 144 km from Bangalore, the capital of the state. The Gommateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola is one of the most important tirthas (pilgrimage destinations) in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Western Ganga dynasty of Talakad. Chandragupta Maurya is said to have died here in 298 BCE after he became a Jain monk and assumed an ascetic life style.

The 58-feet tall monolithic statue of Gommateshwara is located on Vindyagiri Hill. It is considered to be the world’s largest monolithic statue. The base of the statue has an inscriptions in Prakrit Devanagari script, dating from 981 AD. The inscription praises the king who funded the effort and his general, Chavundaraya, who erected the statue for his mother. Every twelve years, thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka or Mahamastakabhisheka, a spectacular ceremony in which the statue is anointed with Water, Turmeric, Rice flour, Sugar cane juice, Sandalwood paste, saffron, and gold and silver flowers. The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be held in 2018 The statue is referred to as Gommateshwara by Kannadigas, but the Jains refer to the same as “Bahubali” (stolen rom the web).

The principle of ahimsa (non-violence or non-injury) is a fundamental tenet of Jainism. It believes that one must abandon all violent activity, and without such a commitment to non-violence all religious behavior is worthless. In Jain theology, it does not matter how correct or defensible the violence may be, one must not kill any being, and “non-violence is one’s highest religious duty”.

The devout Jains do not wear clothing and are vegetarians who only eat crops grown above ground. They walk around with a broom to sweep away any insect that may be in their way as to not kill it by stepping on it. We were at the base of this monument surrounded my many people of all cultures when two naked guys walk through the middle of the crowd and the only ones who were shocked were us and the Europeans with us. Okay, we’ve seen it all – everything from the burqa to naked.

We’er going up there  – 660 steps.

View from the top of the monument.

Stolen photo of the entire rock and monument.

If you can’t make the 660 step climb, there are groups of men who will carry you for a fee.
This is them running downhill with a woman. They almost ran me over since
I didn’t hear them coming.