Thursday, June 4, 2015

Shravanbelagola and Belur Visits

Namaskara from Mysore, India!  

The steps leading up to the temple.
On Wednesday, we ventured an hour and a half outside Mysore to Shravanbelagola, a Jain Temple. This breathtaking temple can only be reached by climbing over 600 steps carved right out of the mountain. More than the incredible view of Hassan, the top of the mountain holds the magnificent Gomateshwara Statue, the world’s largest monolithic stone sculpture.

The view of Hassan.
The spiritual experience was furthered by our interaction with a Jain priest, who blessed us before the statue. Additionally, we had the privilege of reciting a Jain prayer with our very own Sejal, whose family practices Jainism. This once in a lifetime experience brought our knowledge of the Jain religion to a new level, in which we could appreciate its traditional roots first-hand.

The team with the statue of Gomateshwara.
After this, we traveled another hour to Belur, where we saw the Chennakesava Temple. One of the most profound aspects of this temple was the detail in its carvings: no two were the same. Here, we learned about the many forms of Vishnu, a Hindu god, and got a taste of the many Hindu myths. Extremely fascinating was the fact that the King who commissioned this temple converted from Jainism to Hinduism—a rare event.
The Belur temple.
Intricate carvings of dancers on the exterior walls of the temple.
Our day captured the religious diversity within India and successfully translated out classroom knowledge into reality. It has been an amazing week and we cannot wait to update you more in the future! 

This is JaM (Jack and Maddie) signing off.

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