Shravanabelagola — Powered by Solar
Sep. 14, 2010 — Friends, there'll be very little of technology and more of tourism in this post for a change. I hope you enjoy it.
I wonder if you have heard the name of Shravanabelagola, or even been here, unless you are living in the southern part of India, and especially, near Bangalore. As per Wikipedia, Shravanabelagola is a small city located in Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka, about 158 km from Bangalore. Here, the famous statue of Lord Bahubali or Gomateshwara is located on top of the Vindhyagiri Hill.
My very good friend, Ms Usha Prasad happens to hail from Hassan district. Naturally, this trip was something to look forward to! She warned beforehand to be careful of the long climb up the hill!
Well, the statue of Gomateshwara at Shravanabelagola is said to be one of the most important Jain pilgrim centers. The monolithic statue of the of Jain sage Gomateshwara is 17 m (58 ft) high. It is said to be the world’s largest monolith statue!
The climb up to the Gomateshwara statue is something you can and must experience, at least once in this lifetime! To see the statue, you must climb 650-odd steps – all cut out of hard rock and granite of the mountain!
Be warned – you will have to climb up and down – bare feet. Many folks climbed up a few steps, and then figured out ways and means to beat the heat and the tiredness. The climb can really leave your body and legs aching. I actually managed to cut the sole of my leg! I was just too exhausted with the climb up to count the steps.
The view around from the top of the hill is simply breathtaking! You can also look down and view the pond in the middle of city, after which it is named, Bela-kola or the White Pond.
Now, to the other interesting part! The entire place is lit up by solar power! I had witnessed the Auroville in Pondicherry, which has a solar farm and runs entirely on solar. Am quiet certain that Shravanabelagola also has some small solar farm hidden somewhere. I was just too exhausted after the climb down to look for it.
The key thing here is: Solar energy is being used more and more across most of the popular pilgrim and tourist destinations in India. Usha tells me that all of this is nothing new! It has been in existence for some time now. Great to see the wonderful use of solar power in India, especially in places that matter!
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