Saavira Kambada Basadi is a magnificent thousand pillar temple at Moodabidri. The temple town is also popularly known as Jain Kashi’ of India since it is dotted with many Jain temples. Let’s find out more about Saavira Kambada Basadi.
Moodabidri – An Overview
Karnataka has a vibrant cultural heritage, encompassed in its beautiful temples and breathtaking towns. One of these heritage cities in Moodabidri, a temple town has a curious connection with the number 18 – it houses 18 temples, with 18 roads that connect the different villages in the vicinity, adorned with 18 lakes, and also the home to 18 Jain Basadis.
The town, which is located around 37 kilometres away from Mangalore, gets its name from the abundance of bamboo cultivation in the area. In Kannada, ‘Mooda’ means east while ‘Bidri’ means bamboo.
Saavira Kambada Basadi – Quick Facts
- Main Deity: Chandraprabha
- Best Time to Visit: December to March
- Temple Timings: 9 AM to 8 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
- Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
Saavira Kambada Basadi – The Story Of Thousand Pillars
Saavira Kambada Basadi is known for its magnificent pillars that are the hallmarks of this ancient place of worship. The temple is also called Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi which means the ‘crown jewel of the three worlds’.
While the temple was first designed in the year 1430 by the then local chief Devaraya Wodeyar the current design was introduced in the year 1962. The construction took around 31 years to get completed, and the result is the beautiful structure that we see today.
In the later stages of construction, various additions took place – such as the prayer hall, the Manasthamba (a tall pillar in front of Jain temples) which added to the beauty of the temple.
The temple consists of three separate floors, the uppermost of which is open for devotees only once a year. No wonder, the upper floor is one of the best-kept secrets of the biggest and oldest Jain temples in Asia!
Saavira Kambada Basadi – Architecture
The multiple ‘mandapas’ of the temples are supported by pillars, which are a sight to behold! The awe-inspiring beauty of the structures and the impeccable carvings adorning them are a source of intrigue for those who lay their eyes on them.
Indeed, the visitors also can’t help but notice how, despite the lack of modern technologists, sculptures have carved the stones with perfect measurements, lending the place a peaceful symmetry.
From mythical animals to inspirations from Mother Nature – the carvings on these pillars seem to convey various stories and beautifully reflect the art and culture of ancient times.
Historical Significance Of Moodabidri
Although not a lot of written account of the temple is available in English, yet this hallmark of an era has not escaped the eyes of eager historians and researchers. This temple enjoyed the patronage from different rulers across dynasties like the Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Alupa and the Hoysala.
The temple gained more prominence after much of the sacred Jain literature was shifted to Moodabidri from where it was previously kept in at Shravanabelagola – another important city for Jains.
These texts, which came to be known as Moodabidri texts, were originally written in Prakrit, but later were translated to ancient Kannada script. The Moodabidri texts have been inscribed in palm leaves, and are dated as far back as 1060 AD.
Other Jain Temples In Moodabidri
Moodabidri is often referred to as the ‘Jain Kashi’ of India, due to the presence of various Jain temples. We list some of the major temples that you should definitely visit.
The Guru Basadi, also called the Siddhanta Mandira, is an important temple for Jains. The treasured manuscripts inscribed on palm leaves, believed to be from the 12th Century, are housed in the temple.
The temple also has over 52 idols for worship, with the sanctum sanctorum having an idol of Parshwanatha which is 3.5 meters high.
In recent times, the temple was in the news for an unfortunate reason – 15 idols out of the 52 idols were reported to have been stolen.
The Ammanavara Basadi, also known as the Hire Bisadi, is the temple dedicated to Shanthinatha. This temple is said to have been built by a shravaka named Deepanna Setty. The temple also has statues of Goddess Saraswati and Padmavati, along with the 24 Tirthankaras.
Shettara Basadi – Vardhamana Swamy
This temple is quite an ancient temple, having been built in the 16th Century. In the temple, the idol of Bhagawan Vardhamana is placed in the centre of the Kayotsarga posture. Vardhamana, also known as Mahavira, was the 24th Tirthankara, hence the temple is of importance to Jain devotees.
The Culture Of Moodabidri
Apart from the presence of important Jain temples, Moodabidri also actively celebrates the inherent culture of Karnataka. Several dramas and performances are showcased in this temple town.
The Tulu dramas in the native Tulu language and the unique Yakshagana dances portray various mythological stories inherent to Kannada culture. These cultural activities are specifically performed every week during specific months of the year.
Tourists can not only savour the beauty and intricacy of Yakshagana dances, but, if timing their visit correctly, can also enjoy the splendour of cultural aspects like the Navaratri, Kambala, Dindu (traditional flower garland), Bhuta Kola (a beautiful folk dance), and Rathotsava (Chariot festival).
Rathotsava – At Moodabidri
Rathotsavas, meaning Chariot (Rath) festival (Utsav) are an important event where the temple’s main God’s idol is placed in a chariot and pulled by devotees. This is a spectacular event and devotees from nearby towns visit to witness the grandeur.
How To Reach Moodabidri
With abundant local and long-distance transport options, Moodabidri can be visited quite easily from within Karnataka and also outside.
There are even private and public buses that travel on the established routes between other further cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Hubli, etc.
At a distance of 37 km, Mangalore is the nearest airport to Moodabidri. Tourists from far off places can land at Mangalore airport and avail the many taxi services to travel to Moodabidri.
The closest railway station is Mangalore and has a lot of trains to and from different cities.
There are bus and taxi services available from major cities Bangalore, Mangalore, Udupi, etc., which can be availed by tourists to visit the temple town.
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