1) Monolith Of Gommateshwara
FACTS & FIGURES
Built in : 980 AD
Built by : Ganga Dynasty
Location : Sravanabelgola (Karnataka)
SYMBOL OF JAIN GLORY
Sravanabelgola is one of the holiest pilgrim centers for the followers of the Jain religion in India. The Indragiri hill in Sravanabelgola is famous because on top of it stands the mammoth statue of Gommateshwara, which is considered to be the tallest monolithic sculpture in the world. This mammoth monument not only speaks highly of the sculptors who built it, but is also symbolic of the glory of the Jain religion.
Jainism originated in India in the sixth century BC. The Jains developed their own unique style of architecture, which is reflective of their principles of austerity. The main monuments within the architectural repertoire of the Jain style are rock-cut architecture, temples and monoliths.
In the early stages of development, the Jains built a number of rock cut caves, where Jain monks lived and practiced their religion. The halls, rooms, and shrines of these structures were carved out of hillsides in accordance with the ancient practices of rock cut architecture. The rock cut structures built by the Jains resembled the ones made by the Buddhist monks.
As time went by, the Jains started constructing temples like the ones built by the Hindus. The Jain temples are similar to their Hindu counterparts in many ways like the basic structure, pillared galleries, carved pillars, depiction of deities etc. the point of difference were the lavish and minute carvings and the use of marble in the Jain temples in North India and the use of granite in the south Indian temples. One important aspect of the south Indian Jain temples, which sets them apart from their northern counterparts, is their huge monolithic sculptures of deities.
The Jains in south India are known for building a number of monoliths, or huge statues carved out of a single rock, of their deities. Most of these monoliths...