Thousand Pillar Temple, Moodabidri – A must visit place in South Karnataka, India
Recently I had a chance to visit some of the magnificent places in South Karnataka, India and I captured the beauty in my camera and diary. One that is still on top of my mind is the Thousand Pillar Temple at Moodabidri. I hope this article will be very helpful for those who would like to visit this place.
Moodabidri is a small town in South Canara district, Karnataka, India. It is around 35 km from Mangalore, the only city in Karnataka which is connected by all 4 modes of transportation – Air, Water, Rail and Road. There are frequent bus and taxi services from Mangalore to Moodabidri and once you are at this city, anyone can tell you where Thousand Pillar temple is.
This temple as name suggests made up of 1000 pillars and dates back to 1430 A.D. Moodabirdri is popularly known as Jain Kashi, and it is the a pilgrim centre for the Jains. Most sacred scripts of Jain religion is still preserved in the original form on palm leaves in the Jain libraries of this city. According to history as per the wish of a swamiji of Jain Muth (Tribe), then King of Vijayanagara ordered his Governor to donate land for the construction of the temple. Then according to the advice of the Swamiji, this Jain temple was made.
This temple is an architectural wonder of 15th Century. Beautiful carvings and structure of the temple will attract any person who visits them. I am sure this will be a treat for the students of history. The striking point of the temple is the 2.5 meter tall statue of Chandranatha, the 8th theerthankara of Jains. It is made up of 5 metals and thus known as panchaloha (5 metals). The divine beauty of the statue is to be watched.
Apart from this the pillars itself stand out and tell you the architectural marvel. It is said that no pillar is similar in this temple. Each one of them has a distinct unique identity to itself. There are 7 mandaps (podium) inside the temple. The architectural drawings are carved in one of the pillars inside the temple.
The carvings on the walls of the temple tell us the story of the Great Vijayanagara Kingdom, Stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata (Epics of Hindu Religion). But what strike me is the carving of Giraffe, Dragon and the Arabian horse. This is of great significance to historians as they represent the influence of Africa, China and Arab Countries in the architecture as well as the lifestyle during that era. This temple is a three storied building and the Architectural wonders of India, Nepal and China can be seen.
The Entrance of the temple has a superb monolithic column of 50 feet in the Jain tradition which is known as Manasthambha (Great Pillar).
The temple is protected by Great walls around it and it is maintained by local trust.
There are 18 Jain temples across the city and some Jain tombs located towards the outskirts. This city is a must visit for those who love architecture and religion. A visit to Thousand Pillar temple will surely improve your knowledge regarding Jainism and the lifestyle of 15th Century kingdoms in South India.
Karkala is another city near to Moodabidri which is also a pilgrim place for Jains and consists of some great architectural beauties like 42 feet stone statue of Gometeswara, and Chaturmukha Temple of Jain theerthankara.
Moodabidri is a small town and do not have good accommodation facilities, but Mangalore does have some great hotels and beaches. Hence it is advisable to stay at Mangalore and travel 35 km to this ancient city.