Jain temples and tirtha (pilgrimage sites) are present throughout India, many of which were built several hundred years ago. Karnataka is an important state for Jain pilgrimage where you can find huge Bahubali monoliths at four places. Apart from these monoliths there are several other sites which have mostly remained unnoticed by the tourists and ancient monument lovers. Varanga Kere Basadi (temple) in Karkala Taluk, Udupi district is one such site which you rarely find in any tourist map. However, this temple has its own uniqueness. Do you know about this?
Jain temple architecture is generally close to Hindu temple architecture and most of them are known for their lavish carvings. Following the regional styles in Hindu temples, Jain temples in North India generally use the North Indian nagara style, while those in South India use the Dravida style, though exceptions are not uncommon. Often the Jains placed large figures of one or more of the 24 tirthankaras in the open air rather than inside the shrine.
In case of Varanga Kere Basadi, its not the structure but the location that adds to its uniqueness. As the name suggests, this Jain temple is in the midst of “kere”, that is, lake and one have to use boat to reach there.
Though Varanga is a small village with a population of about 4,000 (2011 census) the place is known for old Jain temples. The main attractions of Varanga are Neminatha Basadi, Chandranatha Basadi, and Kere Basadi. Unlike other temples in Karnataka where the carvings are on brass or bronze, here they are out of the ornate granite slab which is available in plenty in the region (no wonder the region has three huge granite monolithic statues of Bahubal!)
Although the Kere Basadi is 850 years old, this temple is renovated, possessing a modern look due to the large marble tiles that surround the outer wall, along with the tile roofing. The pitched roofing above the central section, with a kalasha on its top, rises above the modern-tiled pitched roofing that surrounds it. It also has four entrances in fur different directions.