Sunday, January 1, 2017

A one day drive to Shravanabelagola - Hassan district Karnataka

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes
- Marcel Pronst

I was under the impression that travelling could be an experience only if I travel solo. I was completely fascinated by the tales of solo travelling. But my trip to Shravanabelagola in Hassan at Karnataka broke that myth. 

Well! Solo travelling might work for many but for me a trip with somebody who would just like to travel can work. I have cautiously and deliberately avoided the words ‘share the same passion’. After this trip, I firmly affirm the above mentioned quotes. Travelling is not about seeking new places but new perspectives. 

When I look back, this trip proved to be the most wonderful trip ever.

The experience and that ‘so good feeling which you feel from inside’ could not have happened if I had travelled solo. The 600 steps to reach the biggest monolithic statue would have been a big hurdle if I had travelled alone. I could not have managed them by myself.

Those hours, we spent under the shade of a rock after climbing majority of the steps chatting about personal, professional and worldly things made the experience more personal. A slight breeze that blew during those hours made it more memorable.  

Neither am I against solo travelling nor am I making a sweeping generalisation. My point is : if you love travelling, grab any opportunity that come on your way. Whether it is solo or group does not make a difference. It’s all about you and your personal experience.

We travelled to Hassan from Bangalore. As it was an unexpected trip, we started off a bit late. It took around four hours to reach Hassan. Once you are out of the chaos of city traffic, the rural landscape will make your drive a pleasant experience. When you reach Shravanabelagola, you can see the statue from afar.

As I am a person who do not love being amidst a crowd, the month of September proved to be the right time. 

At the entrance, I saw her.

As footwear are not allowed, you can buy socks from the local vendors for Rs 60. After the visit, most of us discarded them in a dust bin kept there.

If you think you cannot handle the steps, there is chair - carrier like a palanquin.The views are different and mesmrrizing after climbing each steps. It’s all about rocks.

This white pond and the view is majestic. 

When you think that you have finished the Herculean task of climbing the steps, this appears. You can sit for a while here and start the next phase of climbing.There is no doubt that you will get thirsty after climbing all those steps. There are big tanks set up for drinking water.

Now let's get some facts about the statue ( I have taken them from wikipedia )

 * The 58 feet tall statue of Jain deity Gomateshwara is the tallest monolithic statue in the world.

* Shravanabelagola has two hills Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. The statue is located on the Vindhyagiri.

* The statue is one of the most important thirthas ( pilgrimage destinations ) in Jainism.

* The base of the statue has an inscriptions in Devnagari 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 12 years, thousands of devotees come here to perform the 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. 

*It is called 'Statue of Gommateshvara' by Kannadigas, but the Jains refer to the same as "Bahubali".

24 Thirthankara's are kept in individual rooms in a circled roof around the statue.

Some inside views of the temple.

A view of the city and the sky from the temple

The descent was much easier. The coconut water will taste like ambrosia. We just drank and drank.

A view of the small market nearby. It's near to the place where you keep your foot wear.

We returned by around 6 pm.

PS : All pics are copyrighted

published here as UNEXPECTED DELIGHTS


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