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Seventeen Jaina Tombs at Mudabidri, Prantya

DISTRICT: Udupi; TALUK: Karkala
LOCALITY: Prantya (Lat. 13° 18; N; Long. 75° 38')

Mudabidri or Mudabidure, referred to in inscriptions also as Venupura, Vamsapura and Bidireya¬nagara is a well known centre of Jainism in Tulunadu. Towards the end of the 14th century AD, the Kalasa-Karkala ruling family, who were devout Jainas, established their hegemony towards Karkala Mudabidri region. A study of inscriptions from the region makes it clear that most of the structures dedicated to Jaina Pantheon were undertaken by lay patrons, guilds and administrative bodies at the instance of venerable pontiffs. There are many tombs of Jaina priests, only two of them standing apart from the rest being those of wealthy Jaina merchants. These lofty stepped pyrmidal erections consist of several storeys, built of carefully cut laterite stones. They were ornamented with tall granite finials, most of which have now fallen down and set up in the compounds of temples or in private houses as curios. Interestinaly, these tombs also resemble the Chinese pagodas.