It is a lovely meandering ride from Mangalore to Moodbidri, past the nice views and greenery. The three small towns of Moodbidri, Karkala and Venoor in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka are known for their strong presence of Jainism with many Jain basadis or Jain temples. Though the numbers have deteriorated over the years, there are still a few temples here which are considered most revered by the Jains.
Once known as Jainakasi, Moodbidri was home to 18 basadis, of which only a few remain now. The Tribhuvana Thilaka Choodamani basadi is the most significant one amongst the lot. More popularly referred as the thousand pillar temple, the structure is double storied and is adorned with numerous carved pillars. The carvings include that of animals, mythological characters and many more. The main hall is on a raised platform and the inner sanctum houses the idol of Chandranatha. The colourful floor tiles and carvings on the ceiling are quite attractive. Access to the first floor is denied and the tag of '1000 pillars' might seem a bit absurd when you have a look around. However, there are more pillars at the higher level.
Down the road, there are more temples such as Guru basadi, Leppada basadi, Kallu basadi etc.
A short ride away from Moodbidri lies the popular statue of Bahubali at Karkala. Considered to be the second most important pilgrim centre for Jains after Shravanabelagola, the temple stands atop a granite hill. One can either climb up the steps from the base or take the road that wind around the hill and ends at the gate of the temple. Built in mid 15th century, the 42 feet tall statue stands on a 5 feet tall pedestal in the middle of a huge courtyard. Similar to the one at Shravanabelagola, the statue in standing posture has long arms, curly hair along with anthill and creepers around its legs. There are small sculptures of Thirthankaras behind the big statue. From the hill, Chaturmukha basadi can be spotted at a distance. Lined with many pillars, the basadi has entrance from all four sides and hence the name. It houses the idols of Aranath, Mallinath and Munisuvratnath.
Located on the banks of Phalguni river, the tiny town of Venoor is known for the statue of Bahubali and small temples surrounding it. Built in early 17th century, the 38 feet tall statue stands on a high double layered platform in a huge open courtyard. The statue stands erect with long arms, curly hair and creepers around his legs, quite similar to the one at Karkala.
All the three towns are well connected to Mangalore. From Moodbidri it is two different routes to Karkala and Venoor. There are frequent buses from Mangalore to Moodbidri. The closest airport and railway station is in Mangalore.
Mangalore to Moodbidri- 34 Kms
Mangalore to Karkala- 52 Kms
Mangalore to Venoor- 53 Kms
Food and Accommodation:
It is recommended to stay in Mangalore make a one day trip to these places. However, Moodbidri has a few mid range hotels to stay. Paliwals in Moodbidri is a nice vegetarian restaurant. Karkala and Venoor doesn’t have much options.