This is my second visit to Shravanabelagola in 4 years and Thilak’s first visit. The Accuweather told us that it would be cloudy throughout the day at Shravanabelagola. It made us all happy. Thilak, Rajath, and I were ready for this trip at 6.30 AM on a beautiful Sunday morning.
As usual, Thilak wanted to go through a different way instead of the simple common route via Hassan highway and he chose to travel via Magadi road though the distance was more. The route we traveled was through Magadi > Kunigal > Nagamangala > Shravanabelagola. The idea of traveling through the less known routes had always given us very nice memories. This time also, the journey was exciting. The road till Magadi was good. But, we were all hungry by the time we reached Magadi and wanted to have breakfast. Unfortunately we could not find any hotel in Magadi. When searched in Google maps, we found a Kamath restaurant in a 15 km distance from Magadi. But, it was not on the way which he had planned. For us, food mattered more than the route. So, we took a deviation to the restaurant. Since the restaurant was near the Hassan Highway, Thilak was skeptical about the toll that we might need to pay for a small distance. But, we tried our luck and decided to go to the same restaurant. The last 5 km drive to the restaurant from Magadi was the most adventurous drive our Nano had till now. It was a mud road and because of rain, there were large number of potholes filled with water. Thilak drove very carefully to avoid skidding. Finally, after 15-20 minutes, we reached near the Kamath hotel. When we looked at the board of the hotel, we were disappointed. It was not the Kamath hotel that we expected, instead it was café Kamath. We did not have any other choice after coming from that bad road and we quickly finished the breakfast and continued our journey towards Shravanabelagola. We drove around 25 km in the Hassan highway and luckily we did not get any toll gate in that stretch.
With the help of Google maps, we found the left turn towards Nagamangala, which lead to Shravanabelagola. Though the road was narrow and not very well maintained in some places, it was highly scenic. Everywhere there was greenery because of rain. There were lot of coconut plantations throughout our way. The villages we crossed were all very neatly maintained. We reached our destination at around 11.00 AM. As soon as we entered the town, we could see the world’s largest monolithic statue, Gomateshwara, on top of the hill. All of us were pretty excited to climb the steps and go near the statue. What added more excitement to us was the beautiful cloudy weather.
Since the parking lot was full, we parked the car little away from the entrance gate of the Gomateshwara hill. But, still a person came running to us asking money for the parking fee. Though we argued that we have not parked the vehicle in the parking lot, he was not ready to listen to us and we paid 30 Rs for parking as well as for entrance. As soon as we entered the gate, we could see the number of steps to the top of the hill. It was scary, but the pleasant weather made us not to worry much. We have to climb the steps barefoot, so we kept our shoes with the shoekeeper there (3 Rs/pair). There are many people who sell socks, but we felt socks were not required for that weather, so we didn’t buy them. There are around 600 steps to reach the top. The climb was not that tough as we took enough breaks in between. The panaromic view of the town as we were climbing the hill was becoming more and more beautiful. The Gomateshwara is built on the Vindhyagiri hill and there is one more hill called Chandragiri facing this hill. Chandragiri was looking amazing as we were ascending the steps. The Kalyani near the entrance was adding more beauty to the scene.
After climbing around 600 steps, before getting near the Gommateshwara, we could see a small Basadi called Vadegal Basadi and also a small pillar called Thyagada Kamba. Also, there are few inscriptions on the rocks. If not the toughened glass kept on these inscriptions, we would not have noticed them. The view was breathtaking from that point. After this point, we climbed around 25-30 steps and reached the main temple. The sight of Gommateshwara as we entered the temple was mesmerizing. The statue was 57 ft tall and it’s considered to be the world’s largest monolithic stone statue. Gommateshwara or Bahubali was built by Chavundaraya in the year around 983 AD. Many jain devotees were offering pooja there. The entire place was very well maintained and it was extremely calm. In the temple, there were statues of famous 24 Thirthankaras of Jain religion.
We spent some time around the temple. Outside the temple, there is a mantapa called Gullekayi Ajji Mantapa. The town view from the top was absolute treat for our eyes. After clicking some photos in and around the temple, we decided to leave at around 1 PM. While climbing down, we visited the Vadegal Basadi.
By the time, we reached the foothill, it was 1.30 PM and we were hungry. When we just came near the entrance, one of the men standing there suggested to have home food at his home. We did not think much and went to his home. On the way, we saw many homes where they were providing home foods. The food was simple and good and it was only for 60 Rs.
After lunch, we decided to explore the town a bit. There was a temple at the center of the town. But, we went there at the closing time. So, we did not get a chance to see the temple properly. Then, we took a small walk near the temple and came near the entrance of Chandragiri hill, which was our next planned destination of our trip.
Without taking rest, we decided to climb the Chandragiri hill, which is also called as Chikka Betta (Small hill). Here also, we have to climb the hill barefoot, so we deposited our shoes with the shoekeeper. There are around 300 steps to reach the top and they are well maintained. The view of Vindhyagiri hill and the Gomateshwara was becoming more and more beautiful as we were climbing. The weather was at its best, the cool wind helped us a lot in making the trek easier. There are large number of inscriptions throughout the hill which are again highlighted by huge toughened glasses.
It hardly took us 20 minutes to reach the top (even after taking small breaks in between). There was a huge compound built by small boulders, inside which there were many Basadis. The temple complex was huge and was absolutely amazing. The view of Gommateshwara from the top of Chandragiri hill was stunning. It took us some time to explore the place. We visited almost all the Basadis (Shanthinatha Basadi, Parshwanatha Basadi, Kattale Basadi, Shasana Basadi, etc). The Chavundarya Basadi is the largest of all. Using the very small steps inside, we climbed the top of this Basadi and the view from there was breathtaking.
After spending some time in these beautiful Basadis, we came out of the temple complex and sat in the small park like area just outside. It was the most relaxing moment for us that day. The cloudy weather and the cool breeze forced us to sleep there itself. With great difficulty, we controlled ourselves from sleep.
After resting for around half an hour, we left the place at around 3.30 PM. We bought small Gomateshwara monuments from the nearby shop, drank tender coconut water, and started our return journey at around 4 PM. While returning, we decided to come via Hassan highway. On the way, we went to Grand Adigas hotel to have evening snacks. Throughout our journey, the sky was filled with dark clouds and in some places, it rained as well. We reached home at around 8 o’clock.
- Route Travelled: Onward: BTM Layout > Basavanagudi > Magadi > Kunigal > Nagamangala > Shravanabelagola
Return: Shravanabelagola > Yediyur (Hassan Highway) > Nelamangala > Brigade Road > Dairy Circle > BTM Layout
- Total distance (To & Fro): 345 km
- Mileage (Car): 22 km/l
- Fuel expense: 1145 Rs
- Total expense: 2212 Rs
- Photos: Shravanabelagola Photos