The Monk of the White Pond
Sravanbelagola Travel Blog› entry 25 of 37 › view all entries
The small town of Shravanabelagola is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centers in the world.
Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to progress the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called ‘Jina’ (conqueror or victor).
On top of a high hill, is a 57 feet high statue of the Bhagavan Gomateshwara Bahubali (the second of the one hundred sons of Lord Rishabha, the first human being who achieved enlightenment).
It is quite an exhausting effort to get to the top of the hill, but once we’ve reached it, we are very fulfilled. The temple and statue (also called the Monk of the White Pond) can’t be compared to anything else. Not alone is the statue considered to be the world’s largest monolithic stone statue, the base of the statue has inscriptions in Kannada and Tamil, as well as the oldest evidence of written Marathi, dating back from 981 AD.
More than 800 inscriptions have been found at Shravanabelagola, dating to various times from 600 to 1830. A large number of these inscriptions are found on the hill that holds the statue. Most of these inscriptions date back before the 10th century. They include Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Konkani, Marwari and Mahajani languages.