This Temple Town In Karnataka Is Known For It's Intricately Carved Ancient Temples

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Photo of This Temple Town In Karnataka Is Known For It's Intricately Carved Ancient Temples by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Located near the coastal town of Mangalore in Karnataka is the ancient and much revered Jain temple town of Moodbidri. More popularly known as the “Jain Kashi” of South India, it is one of the most respected centres of Jain learning. With 18 roads, 18 lakes, 18 temples and 18 Jain Basadis, Moodbidri is said to have a religious link to the number 18 which is of significance in the Jain culture. The word Moodbidri is derived from two words; Mooda(east) and Bidri(Bamboo) due to the abundant bamboo growing in the area.

The Famous Thousand Pillar Temple

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Photo of Moodbidri, Karnataka, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

In a town full of temples, there are a couple of them which are the major crowd pullers for tourists and religious devotees alike. The finest temple among all these is the thousand-pillar temple or what is known as the Saavira Kambada temple. Built in the year 1430 by Devaraya Wodeyar, the ruler of Vijayanagar, it has been built in three phases till the year 1962. Constructed over a period of 31 years with a total cost of nine crores, it is known for the remarkable pillars that are an integral part of the temple area. The first phase included construction of the sanctum sanctorum with the eight-foot idol of Chandranath, the second phase completed the prayer hall with it’s magnificent pillars and the final phase was the erection of the Manasthamba, which is the centre piece of the temple.

The sacred Jain literature was moved here from the famous Shravanbelagola when the Mughals assaulted in an attempt to rule over the region.

What’s so special about it?

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Photo of This Temple Town In Karnataka Is Known For It's Intricately Carved Ancient Temples by Neha Bhise Sadalge

The grandeur of the famous pillars is such that it transports you back to the ancient times with the story that each of them have to depict. All the pillars from granite have stories carved on them with detailed paintings. Each pillar is unique and tells you a lot about the effort and craftsmanship of the artists who have worked on it’s construction and design.

While the gravity defying pillar at Lepakshi temple in Andhra Pradesh is very well known, the stone chandeliers here that defy gravity are an architectural marvel. While the architecture at first sight might seem like a regular north Karnataka temple, the interior is full of intricate details.

Other temples to visit

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Photo of This Temple Town In Karnataka Is Known For It's Intricately Carved Ancient Temples by Neha Bhise Sadalge

In the famous lane known as the Jain temple lane, there are multiple temples to be explored. The oldest temple here and one of the most popular ones after the Saavira Kambada temple is the Guru Basadi or Siddhant temple. The head of the Jain Math is appointed here and the tall Parshvanath idol which was founded by the monks in 8th CE is a part of this temple. Other famous temples in this town which are known for their architecture and paintings are Vikram Setty Basadi,Mathada Basadi ,Chola Shetty Basadi and Mahadeva Shetty Basadi among many others.

Best time to visit

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Photo of This Temple Town In Karnataka Is Known For It's Intricately Carved Ancient Temples by Neha Bhise Sadalge

The town is known for it’s festivals which are spread across the year. While you can visit this place at anytime, during these festivals the town seems to have a different vibe altogether. The Tiger or Hulivesha dance performed during Dusshera and Ganesh Chaturthi is a famous attraction for visitors here.

How to reach

By Air: The nearest airport is at Mangalore (38 km.) followed by Bangalore (351 km.). You can hire a private cab or use state transport buses from these airports to reach Moodbidri.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is at Mangalore (38 km.)

By Road: State run bus services as well as private cabs are available from nearby cities in Karnataka such as Bangalore, Mangalore and Udupi.

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