It’s the city’s icon, featuring on several publications and pictures. Built in 1204 CE, the Kamal Basadi stands proudly within the premises of the Belagavi fort. It is part of three temples within the fort that survive today, built in later Chalukyan style. Its shikhara is in Kadamba Nagara style, making it a unique monument indeed. The monument is today maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Kamal Basadi, a Digambar Jain temple, was built by Bicchiraja, a minister in the court of Kartavirya IV, a Ratta king. Belagavi region is blessed with several temples built by the Rattas back then. The main deity is Bhagwan Neminath, seated in a Padmasan posture.
The original idol of the Basadi was moved from here during enemy attacks centuries ago and is now kept at the Chikka Basadi in the city. The current idol, which belongs to the 11th century, was found in a forest and predates the temple. The serene idol is flanked by a large Kalpavruskha (the mythical wish granting tree) carved in stone which is indeed rare. Figurines of mythical animals adorn the base of the Kalpavruksha.
A Navagraha Tirthankar idol is also placed inside the sanctum sanctorum, which is extremely rare. The Kamal Basadi is divided into three parts- the Mukhamatapa, Antaral and the Garbhgruha. The ceiling of the Mukhamantapa is adorned with an inverted lotus with its 72 petals (hence the name Kamal Basadi).
Each petal has a carved idol of a Tirthankara ( three sets of 24 Tirthankaras each, one set representing one of the three epochs- past, present and future). To the eight corners of the Mukhmantap are eight pillars with a guardian deity carved on each. These are the Ashta Dikpalas or the guardian deities of the eight directions. The inner chambers are adorned with carvings of perforated screens, Gajalaxmi, floral patterns and elaborate work on the pillars and ceilings.
Several literary and historical references suggest the presence of a total of 108 Jain temples in this region.
Today, however, we see only the Kamal Basadi with the deity inside while the other two ruined temples do not have any idol. The fort was built much later, in fact, and several stones on the fort’s walls depict images of the Jina in seated postures.
It is very important to cherish our city’s ancient heritage. Belgaumites can organize small trips with their family and kids to this monument and let them know about the temples, the fort and their significance. (The INTACH Belagavi chapter routinely organizes small heritage walks of the Belagavi fort for students and heritage lovers)
816th Anniversary of the Kamal Basadi
December 25th marks the 816th anniversary of the consecration of the Kamal Basadi by Bichiraja. The temple is managed by the Shree Shree 1008 Neminath Tirthankar Digambar Jain Mandir (Kamal Basadi) Pooja Committee. With the initiation of Shri Rajeev Doddanavar and Shri Vinod Doddanavar of Bharatesh Education Trust, a special post cover was released on 23rd December, coinciding with the 816th Anniversary of the iconic monument. A special picture postcard and a cancellation stamp was also released on the occasion. (Interested philatelists can contact Bharatesh Education Trust to purchase the set)
A small function was organized at the Kamal Basadi premises on 25th December under the holy guidance of Param Pujya Vatsalya Varidhi 108 Shri Vardhman Sagarji Maharaj and Sangh who are in Belagavi to observe the Chaturmas this year.