hill of Sravanabelagola, 120 kilometers west of Bangalore in the
state of Karnataka, is a noted place of pilgrimage for the Jains.
The large hill, also called Vindhyagiri or Per-kalbappu, is 3347
feet above sea level. A flight of 614 steps, finely chiseled into
the granite of the mountain, leads to the summit, where stands
an open court and the great statue of Sri Gomatheswar. Sravanabelagola
means 'the monk on the top of the hill' and hermits, mystics and
ascetics have resided here since at least the 3rd century BC.
In those early times the hill was thickly wooded and hermits could
feed themselves from the vegitation of the forest. Near the middle
of the 10th century AD, temples began to be constructed upon the
hill and from that time the place has become one of the most important
pilgrimage sites of the Jain religion. The 58 foot, 8 inch statue
of Sri Gomatheswar, carved between 978-993 AD, out of the granite
bedrock of the mountain is the tallest free-standing statue in
the world. Sri Gomatheswar, also known as Bahubali, was the son
of the legendary first Tirthankara, Adinatha (tirthankaras are
the mythical, enlightened sages of Jainism). The chief festival
of Sravanabelagola is called Maha Masthaka Abhisheka, or the 'Head
Anointing Ceremony'. Prior to the festival an enormous wooden
scaffolding is built around the statue of Sri Gomatheswar and
more than one million pilgrims assemble around and upon the slopes
of the sacred hill. During the climax of the festival, priests
and devotees standing atop the scaffolding chant holy mantras
and ritually pour thousands of gallons of milk, honey and precious
herbs over the head of the statue. While flowing downwards over
the body of the statue these sacred offerings are believed to
acquire a powerful charge of spiritual energy from the great deity.
Collected at the feet of the statue and distributed to the throngs
of waiting pilgrims, the magical libations are considered to assist
individuals in their quest for enlightenment. The festival is
performed only once every twelve to fourteen years during periods
of rare astrological significance. Recent festivals occurred in
February 1981 and December 1993.
YOUR ITINERARY for Sravanabelagola
(Bangalore - Sravanabelagola - Hassan - Mysore - Ooty - Calicut
- Cochin(15 Days/14 Nights) )
Day 1 Arrive Bangalore.
Day 2 Transfer to Hassan visiting
Sravanabelagola on the way.
Day 3 Visit the temples at Belur and
Halebid and then transfer to Mysore.
Day 4 Full day sightseeing and exploring
Day 5 Visit Mysore market and then
transfer to Bandipur National Park. Jeep safari.
Day 6 Jeep safari then transfer to
Day 7 In Ooty. Ride on the Toy
Train or take a trek.
Day 8 Transfer to Calicut.
Day 9 At leisure.
Day 10 Transfer to Cochin. Attend
Day 11 Half-day guided city tour.
Sunset harbour cruise.
Day 12 Transfer to beach resort.
Day 13 At leisure
Day 14 At leisure
Day 15 Fly home from Cochin Airport.