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Jain Statue of Gomateswara, Karkala

DISTRICT: Udupi; TALUK: Karkala
LOCALITY: Karkala. (Lat. 13° 10' N; Long. 74° 59' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Mangalore; RAILWAY STATION: Karkala; BUSSTATION; Karkala

Adarsh Smarak Monument

Karkala, forming part of the Tulu country, appears to have been under the direct control of the Alupas who were feudatories of the Kadambas in 6th century AD. Later, they consolidated their presence and ruled Tulunad for more than 800 years. Before the advent of Vijayanagara rule, many segments of Tulunad were controlled by feudatory states. Karkala attained political and cultural importance from the time of Kalasa-Karkala or Bhairarasa Odeyas (13th to 16th century AD) who appear to be descendant of the Santara chiefs, ruling over the Western Ghat region in about 10th -11th century AD . Jainism appears to have gained popularity during this period in centres such as Mudabidri and Karkala which is evident from large number of Jaina bastis.

The monolith of Bahubali on the peak of a granite hill, 91.5 m above MSL, was erected by King Virapandya of Kalasa-Karkala kingdom in 1432 AD on the advice of his preceptor Lalitakirti. Measuring 12.8 m in height, it stands on a 1.5 m high moulded platform and is further enclosed by a high cloistered prakara pierced with an entrance from the south. In the entrance room, a few loose sculptures of Jaina Tirthankaras are displayed. Facing the entrance is a manastambha carrying an image of seated Yaksha within a niche. The statue of Bahubali, second in importance only to the massive monolith at Sravanabelagola, is rendered striking by its situation on the margin of a picturesque lake called Ramasamudra. The statue standing in the kayotsarga pose bears all mahapurusha lakshanas such as elongated ears, palms stretching upto knees, curly hair, etc. But the depiction of ant-hill and creepers entwining both arms lacks natural flow.