Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The climb to a Jain hill

Trekking and Weekend Getaways
Talk about a Jain pilgrim centre and invariably the name of Shravanabelogala and Moodabidiri crops up. While Shravanabeloga is in Hassan district, Moodabidri is in coastal Karnmataka and both are quite a distance from Bangalore.
How about choosing a small yet vibrant Jain centre near Bangalore, The distance too would not be a problem and if you are based either in Bangalore or Tumkur, you can be back by evening.
What sets this place out apart from other places is that you can trek to this place and enjoy a day’s picnic with family and friends.
This is the small Jain pilgrim center of  Mandharagiri in Tumkur district.
Mandharagiri is a beautiful place on a small hillock and it is just 65 kilometres from Bangalore and much less distant from Tumkur-just ten kms away. You can observe the hillock when you are driving towards Tumkur on National Highway No 4.
The hillock is on the right side as you are driving from Bangalore and the first thing you notice is a line of white running right upto the top of the hillock. This is the series of steps leading to the top and there are 435 of them.
An entrance arch with the word Mandharagiri welcomes you to the hillock. As you move towards the hillock, you come across a small village called Panditanahalli. The climb is not steep and there is a Jain temple on the top.
The hill is called Chandranatha Parvatha or Basadi Betta. Chandranatha is one of the 101 Theerthankaras of Jainism and the hillock is named after him. Basadi is a Jain religious structure and Betta in Kannada means hill.
You can park your vehicle at the base of the hill and climb the steps. There is a small Matha here and the priest has the keys to the temple on the top. Check with him for the keys to the temple in case you want to visit it.  
When you start climbing, you notice a temple dedicated to Brahma, the God of Creation. His mount is smeared with Sindoor.
When you reach the top, you can see a fairly big temple with a large courtyard. There are four temples here and two of them are dedicated to Chandranatha and one each to Parshavanatha and Suparshwanatha.
All the idols are sculpted beautifully. In a corner, there are footprints of the Theerthankaras.
By the way, workmen can be seen sculpting a statue of  Chandranatha. This statue is slated to be installed at the top most point of the hill.
Behind the Jain temple is small lake called Maidala Kere. Locals will tell you that this lake once pumped water for residents of Tumkur.
The surroundings appear spectacular, with far away hills, cultivated lands and a few water bodies. You cans stay back at the Betta but you need permission from the temple authorities.
Better carry food and drinking water.

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