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Mandaragiri hills: Sunset here is sight to behold

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Sunsets are one of the most beautiful phenomena to witness on earth. Each city in the world has a different charm to its sunrise and sunset and some people find it rather magical. These beautiful sunsets are a sight to see from the hill tops and other locations and Karnataka offers a wide range of such places where one can witness the beauty of the radiant setting sun.

One such location is the Mandaragiri hills located approximately 75 kms drive from Bengaluru, in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. Locally known as Basadi Betta, this place offers more than just a majestic view of the sky. This place is a prime spot to promote backyard tourism in Karnataka with its many other attractions associated to it.

A Jain Temple or Basadi is located atop the hill and that’s how the name Basadi Betta (betta meaning hill) came to be. The temple is said to have been built in the honour of three saints – Bhagwan Chandranatha, Bhagwan Parshwanatha and Bhagwan Suparshwanatha. Dating back to the 12th and 14th century, these temples are an important artifact in the history of Jainism in India.

The first thing to notice at the base of the hill is the Manastamb, a beautifully carved pillar like structure, similar to the ones adorning the Thousand Pillar Basadi in Moodbidiri. This relic which is often found in every Jain pilgrimage site signifies that any person who is entering the holy complex of Jains is leaving behind his ahenkar (meaning the ego) aside before entering the main Jain temples.

Right ahead of the Manastamb lies the statue of The eighth Tirthankara, Chandraprabha. He is popular among the Jain religion and his statues are often depicted in a lotus or kayotsarga posture, with a crescent moon symbol beneath him. The one at Mandaragiri hills is different as it represents him in a standing position, similar to the ones at Gomateshwara (Bahubali) Temple in Karnataka. This monolithic statue has been carved out of a single rock and is much smaller in size compared to the ones in the other Jain temples across India.

To the right of the statue lies a passage which leads to the main attraction of the hills, the peacock feather temple. The dome was built as meditation center. This temple is an important aspect in the heritage of Jainism as it is the first time that such a dome has been built and which is 81-feet-tall pinchi-shaped dome (pinchi meaning Peacock feather). The shape of the dome has another significance to it. In Digambar Jain traditions, the monks carry a community-owned pinchi (or picchi). This pinchi is a broom made of fallen peacock feathers. It is used for removing and thus saving the lives of insects in their path or before they sit.

At the top of the hill lies the ancient Jain temples which are indeed a sight to behold. The architectural beauty of the structures and the impeccable carvings adorning them are a source of intrigue for those who lay their eyes on them. The art depicted on these carvings are a reflection of the culture and traditions of the ancient times.

Coming back from the visit, travelers can also enjoy the Mydala lake which is located roughly 200 meters offbeat drive from the Jain temple complex. The place offers a serene environment for those who wish to spend some relaxing time away from the busy life in the city.

Mandaragiri hills is a collection of nature and manmade brilliance. It offers a peak into the history and architectural beauty of the past and travelers can come to this place to free themselves in the serene beauty of history.

Image courtesy Niyogitha Ujwal, KshitizBathwal from Wikimediacommons and Buoyantfeet.com.

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SC H Varghese

Harshita Mary Varghese graduated with a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication from St. Aloysius College Mangaluru and is quickly learning the ropes of the emerging Media Industry. She has excellent language and reportage skills. She excels at human interest and travel stories.

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