Jainism in Karnataka
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Karnataka, a state in South India has a long association with Jainism, a religion which enjoyed patronage of major historic kingdoms in the state such as the Western Ganga, Kadamba and Chalukya dynasties and the Hoysala Empire. Today the state is home to a number of Jain monuments, such as temples, Gommaṭa statues and stambhas.
Historical association of Jainism with Karnataka dates back to the 2nd century AD.  Legend has it that Mahavira (the 24th and last Jain Tirthankara) visited Karnataka and initiated King Jivandhara of Hemanagada country of the Kuntala (Karnataka) region this probably accounts for the early beginnings of Jainism in Karnataka. Acharya Bhadrabahu, of the line of pontiffs started by Mahavira accomponied by his disciple Chandragupta Maurya and followers halted at Chandragiri Hill or Rishigiri. Realising that he was nearing the end of his life, he instructed his disciples to spread the religion and he undertook santhara at Chandragiri. Nearly 700 more munis performed Sallekhana, which gave a thrust to the spread of the religion in Karnataka.
Chandragupta Maurya continued to live on this hill worshipping the foot prints of his teacher and later he too followed his teacher by adopting Sallekhana. There are two monuments on the hill recalling this event, a rock cut cave called Bhadrabahu cave and a structural shrine called the Chandragupta Basadi. 
Architecture and Monuments
There are a number of monuments relating to the Jain religion in Karnataka. The Jain monuments include smaller shrines, Jain temples (known as Bastis or Basadis), Gommata statues and Sthambas (pillars).
The most prominent among them are as follows.
- Karkala and Gerusoppa
Statues of Gommata
There are five monolithic statues of Bahubali in Karnataka measuring more than 20 feet in height.
- 57 feet at Shravanabelagola in Hassan District in 981 CE
- 42 feet at Karkala in Udupi District in 1432 CE
- 39 feet at Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada District in 1973 CE
- 35 feet at Venur in Dakshina Kannada District in 1604 CE
- 20 feet at Gommatagiri in Mysore District in 12th Century CE
Moodabidre, known otherwise as the Jain Kashi is home to 1000 Pillar Jain temple (ಸಾವಿರ ಕಂಬದ ಬಸಧಿ). Shravanabelagola has the world famous monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali. Similar Monolithic statues of Lord Bahubali can be also seen in Venur, Dharmasthala, Karkala and Mysore. In all of the above-mentioned places, the holy festival of Mahamastakabhisheka is held once every 12 years when the statue of Bahubali is worshiped and bathed in holy water, milk, turmeric, and other natural herbs that have their own significant importance.
Jainism in North Karnataka
Jainism in North Karnataka flourished under the Chalukyas, Kadamba and Rashtrakutas, and Vijayanagara empire. Imbued with an intense religious feeling, lavish patronage was extended towards the building of basadis, temples and magnificent statues. Jainism enjoyed the highest repute among the people particularly the ruling classes and the mercantile community thus virtually becoming the state religion.
The earliest dated structure is a Basadi at Halasi built under the Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi thus laying the foundation for Jain architecture in North Karnataka. Besides the Kadambas, the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas made liberal endowments towards the propagation of art and architecture to which the Jain contributions have been of classical significance.
Prominent Kannadiga Jains
- Kumudendu Muni - Author of Siribhoovalaya,a unique multi-lingual literary work.
- Bal Patil
- Hampa Nagarajaiah
- Mukhyamantri Chandru
- Jainism in North Karnataka
- Jainism in Kerala
- Jain Bunt
- Saavira Kambada Basadi
- History of Karnataka
- Jainism and Karnataka culture
- Singh, R.B.P. (2008). Jainism in Early Medieval Karnataka. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. pp. 176 pages.
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