(Last Updated on : 15-09-2014)
Venur is a famous Jain pilgrimage center in Karnataka. It owes its picturesque ness to River Gurupur. Venur or Venoor in Karnataka is a small town in the South Kannada district. It belongs to the taluk of Belthangady. The most famous attraction in Venur is the monolith of Bhagawan Bahubali or Lord Gomateshwara. There are 4 Gomateshwaras in Karnataka with the one at Sharvanabelagola being the biggest. The one in Venur is 38 feet high and was put up by the Timmanna Ajila, Jain ruler in 1604. Presumably Amarashilpi Jakanachari sculpted the idol.
Venur in ancient India was one of the popular Jain centers in Karnataka. Today, too, they are the most sought after tourist destinations in the state. Besides the religious significance what attracts tourists is the quietude of this diminutive village. Who does not want to escape the drollness of city life after all? The colossal idol of lord Gomateshwara stands on a high platform facing westward. The temple is situated on the banks of river Phalguni. The festival to look out for at this temple is that of Mahamastakabhisheka. Jain basadis are scattered throughout the village. Apart from these travelers will also come across Mahadeva Temple.
Other attractions at Venur include the seven temples that are placed around the statue of Gomateshwara Bahubali. Two of these were completed with the Gomateshwara by the Queens of King Ajila and are placed in the Akkangala Basadi and Binnani Basadi.
Another idol of Lord Chandraprabhu made of flat rock was erected in Akkangala Basadi and Binnani Basadi. A beautiful bronze idol of Lord Shantinath Swami is also worth visiting. The two temples are situated on the sides of Gommateshwara. As a traveler one will find Shri Shantinath Temple in a separate enclosed area. The temple also houses the deity of Lord Parsvanath that is made in bronze. The revered Bhattarakaji of Mudbidri rebuilt this temple.
The three-storied shrine of Shantinath Swami is another gem of Venur. This had been built in stone and is called Kullu Temple or the Big Temple. The statue of Lord Shantinath is built on a black rock measuring up to 5 feet in height. Ashta Pratihara is designed around the halo of the deity. This design adds to the beauty of the sculpture. Madhurkka Devi is said to have established this temple. As you enter this holy place you will come across Manstambha or the column of dignity with idols of 24 Tirthankars. According to the inscriptions in the temple at Venur this was completed in the year 1489. Bhagwan Mahavir's bronze idol is another magnificent piece of art.
Artistic works, great sceneries and beautiful architecture make Venur, Karnataka a perfect place to visit. Besides, these pilgrim places such as Venur provides a lot of insight to the Jain history and its evolution. The inscriptions found here are significant historical sources. Karnataka is one of those places in India that convey the very essence of India. Venur is truly a Jain basadi yet at the same time it has Hindu temples. Much care has been taken to preserve these sites so that people can explore these witnesses of ancient India.