How quickly the holiday feeling fades. Come June and a harsh reminder of rushed weekdays and packed weekends. However, the sun seemed to be kind on us this one June Saturday and my father came up with a plan which surely goes down into my “perfect memories” chest. It was one of those golden days where we didn’t have to take long-haul flights to uncover a travel treasure but just a hop into our car with nothing more than a few bottles of water, biscuits and a super charged up family.
Why did we choose to go to Shravanabelagola?
As a family, our travel plans are quite well chalked out. Between our long trips, are interspersed, these cool-decided-on-a-saturday-morning-road-trips. We wanted to visit some smaller, remoter places around Mysore & Shravanabelagola was supposed to be one of these nice places. It is one of the major Jain shrines and is famous for the huge, 17.5m-high statue of the Jain deity Gomateshwara. The statue is said to be the tallest monolithic one in the world and it is carved out of a single piece of granite. To get there was quite easy. We started early from Bangalore, a 3 hour drive, 2 stops at Coffee day, a lot of short eats, Boney-M in the background and 24 degrees outside.
Did I just say, June seems better than the summer break?
The little town is nested in between two holy hills Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri, lots of big boulders and some small beautiful lakes. The temple is on a small hilltop which one has to cover on foot. There are around 613 steps up the hill. So getting up there was a nice morning exercise for us. Parking is available just before the entrance to the temple. I was thrilled and surprised at how beautiful it was! I quickly started to climb up the hill where the big statue of Gomateshwara is.
Entrance was free but we had to pay a small amount to leave our shoes at the foot of the temple, we must climb the mountain barefoot. The barefoot walk uphill was oodles of fun though I am glad I kept my socks on & took a few breaks; well of course, to catch my breath. The statue couldn’t be seen while walking up. Only by entering the main temple I suddenly realised that I was standing right in front of the amazing statue of the Gomateshvara.
I picked up two really cool books from near the entrance for Rs.200/- and I am so glad I did. Much of the statue details in this post are from that book which I quite excitedly finished reading even before we reached back to Bangalore. According to what I read, the one who erected the sculpture wanted it to be the world’s tallest, beautiful and perfectly designed without any fault. This was the reason why the statue was closely monitored while it was built. But during the process they realised that this perfect Statue can attract an evil eye, which can get a scratch on the statue. To avoid this, the statue of Bahubali was designed imperfectly but in a way which cannot be clearly noted. The index finger of its left hand is an inch shorter than the right hand. And so if anyone says that the statue is perfect and beautiful, then it’s NOT!
A Saturday well spent!