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Basadi Hosakote Bahubali, Wikimedia

Karnataka, March 10, 2017: Looking into the history of humankind, how we should worship the almighty is the question that gave birth to various different religions. Today, some of these religions have disappeared into oblivion, while some others managed to flourish and stood the test of time due to their simplicity, authenticity, and ease of worship. As a result, these religions have been entrenched deeply into the hearts of people. One such religion that has left such an impression is Jainism.

When the religion was at its peak, Jainism spread rapidly across the country, had been warmly welcome in many parts of Karnataka as well and under the patronage of Kannadiga sovereigns, it prospered in a noteworthy way. The bastions of Jainism and Jaina principles in the State include Karkala, Venoor, Shravanabelagola, Moodabidri. Even though many are still unfamiliar with their religious rituals, the statues of Lord Bahubali or Gommateshwara are well known around the world and they are major tourist attractions.

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Unique statue
However, a large number of us are unaware of a small hamlet called Basadi Hosakote, located near the picturesque backwaters of the famed Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam. Basadi Hosakote deserves to be mentioned because of its Jain shrines. People say once it has been a major Jain pilgrimage center. Among its shrines, the village plays host to one of the most beautiful statues of Gommateshwara, which was supposedly built in the 12th century.

Legend states that the closest aide and prime minister of the renowned Hoysala emperor Bitti Deva (who came to be known as Vishnuvardhana later when he converted to Vaishnavism), Punisamayya, initiated the construction of this statue with the intention of converting the place into a religious destination for the followers of Jainism. This fact can be confirmed by several inscriptions found here. These inscriptions state that the revenue of several villages was earmarked by him for the sake of up-keeping the area. Unfortunately, with the decline of the Hoysalas, this shrine town has eventually faded away in time, mentioned Deccan Herald report.

The Gommateshwar statue, sculpted in pure green soapstone in the classical Hoysala style, is about 18 feet high and is resplendent in all its glory. It stands out from the Gommateshwara statues which are found across Karnataka because to its unique features. One of the various aspects that make it look distinct is the way the creepers binding the legs of the statue, have been sculpted. It is done in a very different manner compared other such statues. Apparently, The statue leans to the right.

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Exquisite sculptures
In addition to the Gommateshwara statue, relics of several Jain basadis can also be found nearby. According to myths and inscriptions found on the site, Basadi Hosakote housed five basadis dedicated to important Tirthankaras. These are constructed in the unique Hoysala style of architecture as well. It is really sad to see the once splendid shrines now lying in a pitiful ruined state with only a few mantapas still standing, bearing testimony to the majesty of yesteryears. It is heartbreaking to see the beautifully sculpted statues of the Tirthankaras and other exquisite sculptures lying around exposed to the elements of nature and carelessly unattended.

Another very interesting fact about this place that a single follower of Jainism can not be found in the nearby villages. The neglected and forgotten place would have ceased to exist if not for the dedicated efforts of the villagers of Basadi Hosakote to protect this historical site as their own heritage.

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Getting there
Basadi Hosakote is situated near Pandavapura in Mandya district, about 150 km from Bengaluru. The place is perfect for a one day trip for people looking for an escape from the daily monotony and for tourists interested in rediscovering the terrain of a forgotten legacy.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang


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