Saavira Kambada Basadi, the 1000 pillar Jain temple at Moodabidri

Karnataka, a state in South India has a long association with Jainism, a religion which enjoyed patronage of major historic kingdoms in the state such as the Rastrakuta Dynasty, Western Ganga, Kadamba and Chalukya dynasties and the Hoysala Empire. Today the state is home to a number of Jain monuments, such as temples, Gommata statues and stambhas.


Historical association of Jainism with Karnataka dates back to the 3rd century BC.[1][2] Acharya Bhadrabahu predicted a twelve-year-long famine in north India and led the migration of Jain sangha to the south.[1] He was accompanied by his disciple Chandragupta Maurya and the Sangha halted at Chandragiri Hill. Realising that he was nearing the end of his life, Bhadrabahu instructed his disciples to spread the religion and he undertook sallekhana at Chandragiri.[3]

Chandragupta Maurya continued to live on this hill worshipping the foot prints of his teacher and later he too took Sallekhana. There are two monuments on the hill recalling this event, a rock cut cave called Bhadrabahu cave and a structural shrine called the Chandragupta Basadi.[4]

Architecture and monuments

Akkana Basadi, Shravanabelagola

There are a number of monuments relating to the Jain religion in Karnataka. The Jain monuments include smaller shrines, Jain temples (known as Bastis or Basadis), Gommata statues and Sthambas (pillars). Moodabidri is home to the 1000 Pillar Jain temple.[5] The Ganga-Permadi temple at Annigeri in Navalgund taluq received donation of land from mahasamanta Katarsa in 1074 CE for maintenance of charity-houses.[6] Another temple named Samyakratnakara basadi situated at Mugad, Dharwad district received a similar donation some time before 11th century CE.[6]

The most prominent among them are as follows:[7]

Basadis (Bastis)

Panchakuta Basadi
Shantinatha Basadi, Jinanathapura

Statues of Gommata

Main article: Bahubali

Shravanabelagola has the world famous monolithic statue, Gommateshwara statue. Similar Monolithic statues of Lord Bahubali can be also seen in Venur, Dharmasthala, Karkala and Mysore.

There are five monolithic statues of Bahubali in Karnataka measuring more than 20 feet in height.[citation needed]

In all of the above-mentioned places, the holy festival of Mahamastakabhisheka is held once every 12 years when the statue of Bahubali is worshiped and bathed in holy water, milk, turmeric, and other natural herbs that have their own significant importance.[8][9]

Jainism in North Karnataka

Main article: Jainism in North Karnataka

Brahma Jinalaya at Lakkundi
Jain Narayana temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jainism in North Karnataka flourished under the Chalukyas, Kadamba and Rashtrakutas, and Vijayanagara empire.[10] Imbued with an intense religious feeling, lavish patronage was extended towards the building of basadis, temples and magnificent statues. Jainism enjoyed the highest repute among the people particularly the ruling classes and the mercantile community thus virtually becoming the state religion.

The earliest dated structure is a Basadi at Halasi built under the Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi thus laying the foundation for Jain architecture in North Karnataka. Rastrakutas period is the golden age of Jainism in Karnataka. The Jaina monuments of the Rashtrakutas period are found at Pattadakal, Malkhed, Lakshmeshwar, Koppal, Bankur, of North Karnataka. Jainism exerted considerable influence over the cultural life of Karnataka during the rule of the Rashtrakutas.[11]

Kadambas of Banavasi were known to be patrons of Jainism. After the rule of the Kadambas of Banavasi most parts of north Karnataka came under the rule of the early Chalukya or Badami Chalukyas.[12]

The Chalukyas of Badami built cave temples at Badami, Pattadkal and Aihole. Puligere (modern Lakshmeshwara) was a strong centre of religious activities of the Jain monks during this era.[13]

Lakkundi in Gadag District has a large Brahma Jinalaya of Chalukya style, built by a noble lady, Attimabbe.[14]

Navagraha Jain Temple at Varur near Hubli is one of the major pilgrimage. The temple features a 61 feet (18.6 m) tall monolithic idol of the Shri 1008 Bhagavan Parshvanatha and the smaller statues of the other 8 Jain teerthankaras.[15]

Religious organisations

Main article: Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha

The Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha is a religious and social service organisation of the Jains of South India. The organisation is headquartered at Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.[16] The association is credited with being one of the first Jain associations to start reform movements among the Jains in modern India.[17][18] The organisation mainly seeks to represent the interests of the native Jains of Maharashtra (Marathi Jains), Karnataka (Kannada Jains) and Goa.

List of famous temples

Chandragiri Hill Temple Complex, Shravanbelgola
Chaturmukha Basadi
Kamal Basadi
Parshvanath Basadi, Halebidu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Bahubali in Badami cave temples
Cave temples
Main temples

Notable Karnataka Jains

Justice R.S.Mahendra

Photo gallery

See also



  1. ^ a b Sangave 2001a, p. 115.
  2. ^ Singh, R.B.P. (2008). Jainism in Early Medieval Karnataka. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 9788120833234.
  3. ^ "A place soaked in religion". Archived from the original on 12 October 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2006.
  4. ^ "Karnataka's hotbed of Jain religion". Archived from the original on 18 June 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
  5. ^ Ramnarayan, Gowri (24 April 2005). "Moodbidri — woods of yore". The Hindu. Chennai. Archived from the original on 26 April 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b Ram Bhushan Prasad Singh 2008, p. 83.
  7. ^ Documentation Update: October 2004 to March 2005, EQUATIONS, p. 29
  8. ^ Kumar, Brajesh (2003), Pilgrimage Centres of India, Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd., p. 199, ISBN 9788171821853
  9. ^ Travel House Guide to Incredible India, Har Anand Publications, 2004, p. 243, ISBN 9788124110638
  10. ^ "The Jain Legacy In Karnataka". Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  11. ^ Chugh, Lalit (2016), Karnataka's Rich Heritage - Art and Architecture (From Prehistoric Times to the Hoysala Period ed.), Notion Press, p. 312, ISBN 9789352068258
  12. ^ Sangave 2001b, p. 174.
  13. ^ Abram 2003, p. 285.
  14. ^ Hartmann & Ray 2020, p. 2360.
  15. ^ Hubli gets magnificent ‘jinalaya’. The Hindu, 6 January 2009.
  16. ^ Bhanu, B. V. (2004). People of India: Maharashtra - Kumar Suresh Singh. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 9788179911006. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  17. ^ Carrithers, Michael; Humphrey, Caroline, eds. (4 April 1991). The Assembly of Listeners: Jains in Society. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521365055. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  18. ^ Markham, Ian S.; Sapp, Christy Lohr (26 May 2009). A World Religions Reader. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781405171090. Retrieved 30 January 2013.