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Thousand Pillar temple

History

No doubt, the history of Jainism in Moodabidri can be traced back to the beginning of 13th century A.D. But it was during 14th - 16th centuries that this city witnessed an unprecedented growth as a center of Jain religion, culture, art and architecture. Not less than 18 Jain temples, Known as Basadis, were constructed during this period. 

The most famous among them are Guru basadi, Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi and Ammanavara Basadi. The Guru basadi is believed to be the earliest of the Jain monuments of this place. Lord Parshwanatha the 23rd Thirthankar of Jainism is the presiding deity of this temple. A beautiful stone idol of Parshwanatha, about 3.5 metres tall, is installed in the sanctum of this basadi. It is in this basadi that the rare Jain palm leaf manuscripts of 12th century A.D. known as ‘Dhavala texts’ were discovered.

Thousand pillared templeThe Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani basadi is the largest of its kind in coastal Karnataka and is considered to be the most ornate of the Jain temples of this region. The large number and variety of pillars in this basadi led the common people to identify this temple as Thousand pillared temple (Savira Kambada Basadi) . This is a huge granite construction originally built in 1430 A.D and was completed in three stages. The 2.5 metres tall bronze image of Lord Chandranatha Swami housed in the sanctum of this basadi is considered to be an image of utmost importance in Jainism. This huge, three storied movement was constructed by the collective effects of the rulers, the Jain Swamiji, merchants and also the common people by this ancient city. The most beautiful part of this temple is the open pillared hall in front, consisting by a rich variety of ornate pillars. The pillars and the roof this open hall are decorated with beautiful and minute carvings typical of Vijayanagara style. The various parts of this huge temple represent the Vijayanagara art at its list. The 15-meter tall freestanding single stone pillar called manasthambha in front of the basadi, is indeed a marvel by art.Manasthamba

There are beautiful images of Jain Trirthankar, Yakshas and Yakshis in every Jain basadi of Moodabidri. The stucco images in the Leppada basadi and Ammanavara Basadi are worth a visit. The Jain tombs and Nyaya basadi at Kodangallu, in the outskirts of Moodabidri are movements of great historical interest.

Moodabidri was a centre of Jain literature too. Ratnakara Varni, the doyen of medieval Kannada literature and the author of Bharatesha Vaibhava belonged to this place. The famous Jain canonical texts known as Dhavala texts and also a number of palm leaf manuscripts of immense literacy value are in the possession of the Jain monastery here.

Moodabidri was also the seat of the Chowta’s, a local Jain ruling family, who were originally ruling from Puthige, a village about 5 km from here. They shifted their capital to Moodabidri in the 17th century, where they constructed a palace, the remains of which can still be seen.

Moodabidri still maintains its old charm as an important Jain centre coastal Karnataka. The city has a large population of Jains who keep the spirit of Jainism still alive. Many Jain festivals are also being celebrated here throughout the year. Moodabidri continues to the most sought after pilgrimage centre of the Jains from all over country.

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