Show curated by Dr. Tara Kashyap
The Jaina Panorama Visual Extravaganza is presented through an exhibition of drawings, sketches and photographs of rare and lesser known Jaina monuments, Jaina deities, signs & symbols display of replicas of sculptures of important Jaina images, relief panels based on Jaina Jatakas Ashtamangalas, Mandara and Samavasarana models, display of ritual objects, jewellery, curios in the category of crafts.
To make the presentation more meaningful it is developed against the background of a historical perspective. The advent of Jainism into Karnataka, its acceptance by the people in general , the patronage extended to the faith by the ruling dynasties, the nobility, queens and the generals. Their art, architecture and literature are highlighted in a thematic format.
The advent of Jainism into Karnataka
The association of Jainism and Karnataka is traced to great antiquity. Jeevanadhara of royal origin is said to have been initiated into Jainism by no less than a spiritual personage as Bhagavan Mahavira. This possibly paved the way for the great migration of the last of the Shruthakevalin bhadrabahu with a large number of followers to Shravanabelagola in Karnataka. The event acquired greater significance as Chandragupta Maurya, one of the outstanding initiates of teacher Bhadrabahu who followed him to the divine destination.
Simhanandin, the Jainacarya, established Gangavadi dynasty. Jainism was its state religion for about seven hundred years during which hundreds of Jaina monuments were erected by the kings. Pujyapada, Prabhacandra, Jinasena, Gunanandi, Patrakesad, Puspadanta, Vidyanada, Anantavirya, Joindu etc. get the patronage of the dynasty. Of the kings the name of Rachamalia Satyavakya may be specially mentioned under whose reign Chamundaraya, his great minister erected the colossal statue of Gommetesvara Bahubali, the unparallel statue in the world. After Rashtrakutas Jainism got set back. From Jaina archaeological standpoint, the main sites Mangal, Nandidurga, Panditarahalli, Candrasala vasadi, Amarapur, Arkettar, Sarangipattam, Halebid, Kelasaur, Aihole, Marol, Honwad, Honnur, Kalholi, Mulguna, Lakkundi, Nagire, Biligi are the main places where the Jaina monuments are richly available.
The grand event beginning from the advent of Jainism into Karnataka, culminating in the Mahamastakabhisheka of Bahubali, the spiritual leader and patron saint of Karnataka has from very early times been the abode of the Digambara Jains. The austerity and the extreme degree of asceticism of Digambara gurus, instead of being a hindrance, enabled them to lay strong foundation for two of the greatest empires of Karnataka namely the Gangas and the Hoysalas.
The earliest known dynasty to patronize Jainism was that of the Kadambas who ruled around 485 A.D. This is evident from Kamalajinalaya built near Banavasi by Ravivarma. There were several other Jaina monuments built under Kadamba patronage. Parsvanatha temple at Kuppatur built for Kadamba queen Maladevi and Jaina temple built in Hangal fort are two such examples.
Jaina monk Simhanandi is mentioned as having chosen the brothers Dadiga and Madhava and with the boon from goddess Padmavathi, handed over to them, a sword to survive and a kingdom to rule. The reign of Ganga dynasty which lasted from 350A.D to 999A.D is considered as a glorious phase in the history of Jainism in Karnataka. The art, architecture and literature speak volumes about the cultural achievements of the royal dynasty. Most of the basadis built during this period are located in Chandragiri in Sravanabelagola and Sravanabelagola town.
The Chalukyas of Badami
Chalukyas of Badami ruled major portions of Karnataka between 500A.D to 757A.D. They popularized cave architecture and among these is Jaina cave in Badami. The cave excavated at the higher level is that of the Tirthankaras. The Gommata figure with long locks and the figures of yaksha and yakshi are the other Jaina sculptures carved in this cave. There are also examples of Jaina monuments built in structural technique in Vesara style.
Rastrakuta rule which lasted between 735A.D and 973A.D is another important phase in the development of Jainism in Karnataka. Particular mention may be made of Jaina preceptor, Jinasena and Mahavira, the author of Ganithasarasangraha- a book on mathematics.
The Chalukyas of Kalyana
The reign of Chalukyas of Kalyana started in the year 1973 and ended in 1198. A special significance to Jainism is the contribution of Kannada poet Ranna patronized by Chalukyan king Satyashraya. Numerous Jaina basadis were built during their reign. Aihole, Lakkundi, Lakshmeshara, Huli have some outstanding examples. Mention may be made of Great Jaina Temple at Lakkundi founded by Chalukyan queen Atiyabbe.
The origin of the Hoysalas who emerged as a powerful dynasty in the 11th century is associated with Jaina muni in the temple of Vasantika Devi located in Angadi in Chikkamagalore district, Karnataka. Along with the temples many Basadis were built in Hoysala style. Angadi, Bastihalli in Halebid, Jinanathapura in Shravanabelagola, Kambadahalli, Nittur, Heragu, Mudabidre, Karkala, Venur became important places of Jaina religion.
The Vijayanagar emperors
That the Vijayanagar rulers extended their patronage to Jainism is evident from the records of Portuguese traveler Barbosa. This is also true of the minor dynasties like the Rattas of Kahandimandala, Santaras of Humcha, Gerusoppa Chiefs and others..
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