Kan: ಶ್ರವಣಬೆಳಗೊಳ śravaṇabeḷagoḷa

‘Monk’s White Pond’  Town, Karnataka

From Skt: śramaṇa, ‘ascetic’, ‘mendicant’, ‘(Buddhist or Jain) monk’; Kan: beḷ/veḷ, ‘bright’, shining’, ‘white’; and koḷa/koḷahe, ‘pond’.

This is the site of the 18m, 10thC Gommateshwara statue on Vindyagiri Hill, the world’s largest monolithic statue dating from the 10thC. Gommareswara or Bahubali is said to have attained realization after practising standing meditation for a year, standing so still that climbing plants grew up his body.

Every twelve years, thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka anointment [Skt: maha, ‘great’; mastaka, ‘head’; abhiṣeka, ‘sprinkling’, ‘consecrating’], a ceremony in which the statue is anointed wth a heady mix of water, cane juice, turmeric, sandalwood paste, milk, saffron, vermillion and flowers.

The town is named after the pond in the middle of the town.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Karnataka place names.

Article/Photos: Shravanabelagola, the Jain Giant of Karnataka – MAGIK INDIA