51 km south-east of Hassan, this is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centres. On top of a 150m high hill, which can be reached by 700 steps, stands an extraordinary 17m. statue of a naked male figure, said to be the world’s tallest monolithic structure.
The statue represents the prince Bahubali after he gained enlightenment. Having fought a fierce war with his brother Bharata over the rights to succession, Bahubali accepted defeat when he had won the battle because he recognised its futility. Passing on his kingdom to his defeated brother, Bhahubali adopted a life of meditation. T
Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the `Mahamastakabhisheka’, a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years, when the 1000-year-old statue is anointed with milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins. The next Mahamastakabhisheka is due in 2005
You can visit Shravanabelagola en route from Mysore or Bangalore to Hassan or Chikmagalur.