Shravanabelagola is a town that is about 150 km from Bangalore and about 50 km from Hassan in the state of Karnataka. It is most famous for its shrines dedicated to Jainism- most notably a remarkable monolithic statue 58 feet tall- that of Gomateshvara Bahubali. Given that this massive statue is located on top of a hill, it can be seen from quite far away- as you make your approach into the town. The statue is said to have been constructed around the 10th Century but when you look at the features on the statue, erosion seems to have hardly made a difference. This is a live temple and everyday hundreds of practicing Jains come here to offer their worship.
The statue shows the person so deep in meditation that an entire anthill has grown around his feet and plants growing along his height.
The shrine is open all day and people are welcome to ascend the few hundred steps that lead up to it anytime. However I would highly recommend that you attempt to climb the hill early in the morning or late in the evening as you are obliged to do it barefoot (or only with socks). This is especially if you are climbing in the summer months (April-September). It also tends to be very crowded. That being said it is not an especially difficult climb for someone who has had reasonable physical exercise.
If you have older people who can’t climb, the management provide a fairly rickety palanquin system. The official fare is nominal (I think 500) but you have to pay the bearers separately (and this needs a bit of bargaining). And the palanquins don’t go up after 9am so you have to get there early.
All in all the monolithic statue is impressive to look at and the shrine is certainly worth a visit if you’re close to Hassan.