Jaina Tradition of the Deccan: Shravanabelagola, Mudabidri, Karkala

Author: Julia A. B. Hegewald
Photographer: Surendra Kumar
Size of Book: 200 x 140mm
No. of pages: 128
First Published: 2021
ISBN: 978-93-90166-92-3 

The awe-inspiring Gommateshvara image at the summit of Vindhyagiri above the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is the largest figural monolith in India. Dating back to the 10th century, it is today the most popular pilgimage destination for Jainas in southern India, especially during the Mahamastak Abhisheka festival held here every twelve years. Smaller versions of the Gommateshvara statue belonging to later times are also seen at Karkala and Venur. Together with the town of Mudabidri, these sites all have Jaina shrines known as basadis built in local architectural styles housing stone and metal statues of the Jaina Tirthankaras.

Authored by Julia A. B. Hegewald, a specialist in Jaina architectural traditions and ritual practices, and illustrated with specially commissioned photographs by Surendra Kumar, Jaina Tradition of the Deccan provides and essential introduction to all these Jaina monuments. After outlining the history of Jainism in the Deccan, its beliefs and practices, the volume directs visitors up the granite hills at Shravanabelagola and Karkala to visit the basadis and Gommateshvara images. It the conducts visitors around the towns of Shravanabelagola and Mudabidri, describing the various basadis and their collections of precious images. It also covers the murals to be seen in the maths at Shravanabelagola and Mudabidri. This information should prove indispensable to interested visitors, scholars and students.