Every stone here tells a story


Nittur’s Shantinatha ‘basadi’ is an example of Hoysalan architecture, The ‘basadi’ is among the oldest such structures in the region and is often likened to Aihole’s temples for its sheer artistry.

Every stone here has blossomed into a fine work of art. For a moment, we rubbed our eyes in disbelief, and wondered if we were standing at Aihole.

In reality, we were standing in front of the basadi of Shantinatha Teerthankara at Nittur village in Gubbi taluk. The place is known as ‘Aihole of the south’.  The basadi is yet another example of the exquisite art and architectural style of the Hoysalas. It was built in the latter part  of the 11th century.

The basadi is the district’s oldest one, and has been built in slate stone. The intricate carvings in stone draw attention almost at once. The carvings on the outer walls are different from those on the inner walls, but are equally attractive.
It is for this sheer artistry that this place is compared to Aihole.  Adalagere and Bidare villages which are in the vicinity of Nittur were once prominent Jain centres. There is a description of Nittur even in chronicler Francis Buchanan’s work.

There are records that suggest that the basadi was built by Hoysala ruler Veera Ballala. According to a carving in the basadi, the sculptor goes by the name of Mallaiah of Malopi. The speciality of this basadi is the presence of a pillar, done in the same style as that of the temple in Halebeedu, yet another Hoysalan structure.

There are three sanctum sanctorums in the basadi. The place is famous for its importance as a Jain centre, apart from the artistry. The deity of Shantinatha Teerthanakara, which was  consecrated in 1969, is offered worship every day here.  
Hordes of devotees from across the country visit the basadi. Special prayers are offered on Sundays.

Dharmasthala’s Dharmadhikai Veerendra Hegde has visited the basadi and Rs 50 lakh has been earmarked for the renovation of the basadi. The renovation will be started soon.

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