Saturday, October 29, 2011

Once we climb all the 640 steps and reach the top, the first thing that is seen is an inner complex on DSC01265the right with a wall. We have the first view of the Gomateshwara Statue from here. Figures like fishes and elephants are carved on the wall, which we do not the significance. We need to enter the inner complex walking from the rear end. There are some monuments to the back of the compound. The Wodeyar mantapa on the western corner, has a column whiDSC01271ch has a donative record. One portion of this record tells how mortgaged property of the temple got redeemed by the initiative of the Mysore King Chamaraja Wodeyar in 1634 AD. The other portion mentions the grants made for the upkeep of this centre by King Dodda Krishnaraja Wodeyar in the 18th Century. Nearby, there is a three step pillar stone on the floor. We do not know the significance of this as well but it should be something relevant to Jains. Nearby is the Gullekayi Ajji Mantapa.

DSC01274An image of immense legendary interest is housed in this pavilion. Its open ground floor contains five round pillars, an inscription and an image of the Old Lady (Gullekayi Ajji). The pillars, though simple are very strong and support the upper section. The upper floor enshrines a Yaksha image. DSC01275The large central pillar was cut out of a boulder in the 12th century. An inscription at its base names it as, “Manasthambha”. The pillar and the Yaksha image were caused to have been made by minister Baladeva of early 12th Century. The inscription column was placed against the central pillar in 1422 AD by Irugappa Dandanayaka. It mentions the gifts made by this general to Gommata.  The image of Gullekayi Ajji wears a blouse and a pleated saree. According to a local legend, Yakshi Padmavathi transformed herself into an old woman to humble the pride of Chavundaraya.

DSC01279The outer compound wall i talked about was erected during the time of Mysore Wodeyars (17th-18th Century). The Siddhanta basti is at its southeast corner was built in the 14th century. It is notable for the two commemorative columns in the hall than for the image enshrined in the sanctum. These columns were erected in 1398 and 1432 in honour of Saint Panditharadhya and Srtamuni respectively. The text of the second memorial was composed by Mangaraja, a famous Kannada poet.

DSC01290Before speaking about the main attraction at this place, we need to talk about one amazing feat called the Suttalaya. Spanning all the three sides of the colossal statue of DSC01289Bahubali and built in two successive stages, house many Tirthankara images. Gangaraja, a general of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana erected the enclosure. Basavi Setti during the 12th Century erected all the 24 Tirthankara statues inside while the others were installed by Kethi Setti, Balleya Dandanayaka, Anki Setti, Bidiyama Setti, Mahadeva Setti, Nemi Setti etc. These Suttalaya images (3.5 to 5.25 feet high) are of great interest to the pious Jains as well as students of Jaina art and iconography. From the records and the cognizance’s engraved on the pedestal, from the attributes held by attendant deities, and from certain other conspicuous characteristics, the Tirthankara images are identified.

I will be dedicating my next post to discuss about the Gomateswara Statue in detail.

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