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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Hoysala Expedition Part 26: Sahasrakuta Jinalaya, Arasikere

The town of Arasikere is not only home to the Shivalaya, built by King Veera Ballala the II, but is also the place where little known Sahasrakuta Jinalaya, a Jain Basadi of the same period still thrives.

Both the Shivalaya and Sahasrakuta Jinalaya are believed to have been established in 1220 AD, during the peak reign of Ballala the Second. The Jinalaya gets its name because of the intricately carved 'Sahastrakuta Jina bimba', containing 1008 tiny representations of Jinas on a monolithic towering pillar inside the sanctum sanctorum. Records indicate that this temple was constructed by Rechana, also known as Dandanayaka Rechimayya, a General of Ballala, and a devout Jain.

Although the entire outer structure - the walls and the shrine - have been relaid over the years, the inner beauty still retains the brilliance of the Hoysala architecture at its best. The Bhuvaneshwaris that adorn the roof tops are as beautiful as you would find in any temple of the Hoysala period.

My visit to this temple, which is at Huliyar Road at the heart of Arasikere was last weekend, and I could enter the sanctum sanctorum to get a closer look at the repolished / new marvelous pillar with 1008 Jina images as the renovation work was under way, and through 14th to 16th of February 2014, the temple will be anointed with the religious ceremonies including a grand Panchakalyana, and those interested must definitely pay a visit.

Here is a video of the temple:

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