Chikkabetta / Katakana / Kalvappu / Kalbappu is the smaller hill at Shravanabelgola at a height of 175 feet. It’s about 3050 feet above the sea-level. Portions of this hill are called Tirthagiri and Rishgiri.
Most people who visit Shravanabelagola just visit Vidhyagiri and pray to Gommateshwara or Bahubali but don’t visit or climb the other hill Chikkabetta. This hillock has a history which goes back to 2nd century BC.And, has a history that is 1000 years old than Vidhyagiri. The many inscriptions found here on this hillock Chikkabetta help us understand the history of Jainism and Shravanabelagola.
Almost all the temples or basadis 14 of them as they are called here are enclosed in a fortified wall here except, Bhadrabahu cave. These temples are built in Dravidian style of architecture… some are grand stone work… a few are simple mortar structure. Most of the rock work are granite and soap stones.
Bhadrabahu the last Srutakevali (the person who renounces everything and in the end straves himself to death & salvation) predicted that Ujjain the prosperous north Indian city will face severe drought and famine for 12 years. This prediction saw Jains migrate in exodus to southern India. King Chandragupta too stayed back as an ascetic and reached his salvation asking his people to move further south on Chikkabetta.
Chikkabetta has these 14 Basadis which throw up Jain history of 2000 years. Shravanabelagola is just 158 kms and the nearest town is Hassan. It’s a one-day trip. Or can be clubbed with Belur & Halebidu (85kms from Shravanabelagola) with a night halt. A visit exploring Jainism and Hoysalas.
These places have only small shops and no great hotels -except Hassan… or one can have a relaxed holiday at Chickmagalur – coffee plantation cool area.
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography