This is the last leg of my 3-day Trip to the Hassan District. I had to get up very early and so that i could reach Sravanabelagola as soon as possible, which i managed to reach by 7 AM. The town has just woken up and you will find the vendors starting to clean their premises to start their day’s business. I put my bag at a travel agent’s place and started off to the entrance to the hill.
Activity at the hill was full on. There were people already climbing. Its advisable to start the climbing as early as possible as heat will be a concern once the sun rises. There are two sections of steps to finally reach the destination. The first section is a steep climb of 500 steps after which we reach the main entrance to the complex on the top. Be very careful while climbing as the steps are steep and one mistake may cause a person to tumble down. The steps may be slippery in rainy season, so be very cautious. We can have a nice view of the surroundings during the climb. There are two doorways during the ascent which may have been setup during the 10th Century. Surprisingly i took just 10 minutes to reach the entrance of the second complex, where i rested for about 10 minutes before starting off again. We will talk a little bit about the hill and its history before moving on.
Sravanabelagola has two hills, Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. Acharya Bhadrabahu and his pupil, King Chandragupta Maurya are believed to have meditated here and Chandragupta attained salvation at this place. Chandragupta Basadi, which was dedicated to Chandragupta Maurya, was originally built there by Asoka in the third century BC. Chandragiri is also said to be the place where the last Rashtrakuta King of Manyakheta is said to have meditated. The 57-feet tall monolithic statue of Gommateshvara is located on Vindyagiri Hill. It is considered to be the world’s largest monolithic stone statue.
More than 800 inscriptions have been found at Sravaṇabeḷgoḷa, dating to various times from 600 to 1830. These inscriptions include texts in the Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Konkani, Marwari and Mahajani languages. Some of these inscriptions mention the rise and growth in power of the Western Ganga Dynasty, the Rashtrakutas, the Hoysala Empire, the Vijayanagar Empire and the Wodeyar dynasty.
Now lets talk about the various monuments on the Vindhyagiri Hill.