Jaina Tradition of the Deccan: Shravanabelagola, Mudabidri, Karkala


The awe-inspiring Gommateshvara image at the summit of Vindhyagiri above the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is the largest figural monolith in India. Dating back to the tenth century, it is today the most popular pilgrimage destination for Jainas in Southern India, especially during the Mahamastakabhisheka festival held here every twelve years. Smaller versions of the Gommateshvara statue belonging to later times are also seen at Karkala and Venur. Together with the town of Mudabidri, these sites all have Jaina shrines known as basadis. Built in local architectural styles, they house stone and metal statues of the Jaina Tirthankaras.

Authored by Julia A.B. Hegewald, a specialist in Jaina architectural traditions and ritual practices, and illustrated with specially commissioned photographs by Surendra Kumar, Jaina Tradition of the Deccan provides an essential introduction to all these Jaina monuments. After outlining the history of Jainism in the Deccan, its beliefs and practices, the volume directs visitors up the granite hills at Shravanabelagola and Karkala to visit the basadis and Gommateshvara images. It conducts visitors around the towns of Shravanabelagola and Mudabidri, describing the various basadis and their collections of precious images. It also covers the murals to be seen in the maths at Shravanabelagola and Mudabidri.

Buy eBook Available for immediate download upon payment




Julia A.B. Hegewald

Julia A.B. Hegewald graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from where she obtained a PhD, and is now Professor and Head of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History at the University of Bonn. Between 2002 and 2014, she was Director of the Emmy Noether Research Project on Jainism in Karnataka. She is the author of Water Architecture in South Asia: A Study of Types, Developments and Meanings (Leiden 2002), Jaina Temple Architecture in India: The Development of a Distinct Language in Space and Ritual (Berlin 2009; Mumbai 2018) and the editor of The Jaina Heritage: Distinction, Decline and Resilience (New Delhi 2011).