With Udupi Sri Krishna Temple behind us, it was onward onto Kere Basadi – Varanga, Karkala. This place was on my bucket list for two years. I was impressed by the aerial view of this Jain temple posted on social media. I always felt “That’s the place to live amidst nature”. The greenery and an outstanding structure in the centre of the lake always fascinated me. With the setback of Jomlu theertha falls, my friends somehow reluctantly agreed to visit this place on my words, and hence we were looking forward to exploring this unexplored place in Varanga, Karkala.
Brief note on the place
Kere Basadi is located in Varanga, a small village 26kms from Karkala, Udupi. Varanga is a popular Jain pilgrim centre. The village is a home for many centuries old ancient Basadis. The word Varanga is also closely associated with Varangacharita, a novel on fictional prince Varanga to preach principles of Jainism. The main Basadis here are Neminatha Basadi (Here Basadi), Chandranatha Basadi (Matada Basadi) and Kere Basadi.
Varanga Basadis are one of the ancient structural Jain temples of Karkala. They were built in 13th century by Varanga Raja. The Varanga Basadis are built with four symmetrically looking entrances leading to garbagriha of Jain Tirthankaras.
The First Sight
Using the Google navigation, we reached Varanga at 1pm. As we landed, we were awestruck gazing at the structure. A vast temple (Neminatha Basadi) enclosed within ancient walls. The lush green paddy fields soothed our eyes.
Beyond this, tall coconut trees and swaying hills in the background. [This is where the Kere Basadi is hidden in the centre of the lake, which we found later]. We all exclaimed “Wow” and were happy to witness this view. We parked the car and headed towards the temple.
Neminatha Basadi – Here Basadi
The grassy path paved the way to Neminatha Basadi. There stood the ancient Jain temple, built in 1329. It is also referred to as Here Basadi – Big temple. The entrance of the Basadi has huge pillars, roofing old tiles and mentions the history of the temple dated 1008AD.
As we entered, an ancient stone structured Basadi surrounded by the grass looked elegant. The Manasthamba of 45ft looked high in the sky.
Further, the garbagriha houses Lord Neminatha Swamy, a 5ft tall Kamala Peeta (lotus seated) monolithic sculpture. The Basadi also houses 24 Tirthankaras in meditation posture. Neminatha is the 22nd Tirthankara of Jainism and is considered to be most worshipped among Jains. He is also considered to be the “God of village Varanga”. The temple has a history of dated back to 1200 years. It is believed that Varanga Raja – king of Varanga, gifted the village to Neminatha Swamy for the purpose of preaching Jainism
The outer structure of the Basadi is supported by stone pillars. Historical inscriptions are found here dated back to centuries which proves the existence of Jainism since then.
A huge lush green paddy field is present just in front of this temple. The Basadi administration along with the villagers maintain the paddy field and is never left barren. This adds beauty to the Basadi and scenery is still fresh in our minds.
Meanwhile, I was pondering about the Kere Basadi and my eyes were continuously searching for the view seen on social media. We noticed few people walking further beyond the Paddy field across a small house structure. We decided to follow them and explore more.
Chandranatha Basadi – Matada Basadi
As we walked further, we came across a Malnad house like structure which is known as Chandranatha Basadi. It is referred as Matada Basadi as it houses the Varanga Jain Mutt. The main deity worshipped here is Chandraprabha, 8th Tirthankara.
The Jain mutt is functional and there were around 15 students learning here. It is maintained by Sree Hombuja Jain Mutt. The interiors of this Basadi looks like a typical Malnad home with beautiful wooden structures.
We were fortunate to meet the secretary of the mutt – Yuvaraja Ariga Sir, who gave us a great insight into the place. He was so humble and offered us sumptuous lunch when we enquired about the hotels nearby. Spending time with him helped us to understand the significance of Varanga and Jainism. Thanks to him 🙂
We walked further and another mystery awaited us – a big lake surrounded by tall coconut trees. As we gazed across the lake, we noticed another Basadi in the centre of the lake – Kere Basadi. “This is what I was searching for”- I exclaimed.
When we enquired on reaching there with Yuvuraj Sir, he told us that there is a ferry available which the priest would row and that’s how we would reach the Kere Basadi. We also realized that this is where recent movie Mugulunage climax was shot. We bought tickets of Rs.5 each and started to walk near the ferry.
As we neared the entrance, the view was Breathtaking !! Beautiful Basadi in the centre of the lake filled with green aquatic plants. The tall coconut trees in the background. Moreover, the reflection of the Basadi in the calm water looked fabulous. What more to ask for!. We were feeling awesome with these fantastic views.
The lake is approximately 28ft deep and is full of aquatic plants and fishes, we enjoyed playing with them. We boarded the blue ferry, which was our Titanic feeling for sometime :D. Few Titanic poses toh banta hai 😛 The priest arrived with other tourists near the ferry and he held a big log to row the ferry. Everyone boarded the ferry and the ferry started. It was literally scary as it tilting almost 45 degress while he rowed. We adjusted ourselves so that the ferry would remain balanced. The ride was awesome and adventurous with no life jackets 😛 As the basadi was nearing, the priest turned the ferry almost 180 degrees, which was so exciting 😀
The Kere Basadi looked like a lotus in the centre of the green calm lake 🙂 . It is also called as Chaturmukha Basadi as it is a square symmetrical structure with four identical entrances. The whole temple is supported by a small compound. The walls of the Basadi is built with granites. There is a small well also present inside the temple premises.
It is dedicated to Lord Parshwanatha, 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism. It also houses Lord Ananthanatha, Lord Shanthintha and Goddess Padmavathi. We sought the blessings.
The lake view from this Basadi is great. We traversed around the temple for some time to capture beautiful sights of nature. The whole atmosphere was so peaceful. A wish to stay to there amidst nature.
We spent around 20 minutes and had to head back. This was a new experience for all of us. We were happy to see this place and a lot of learnings on Jainism.
One last time we captured the sight of Varanga and bid a goodbye. It was 3pm and we resumed our journey towards Agumbe. The memories of Varanga is still fresh in our minds, especially the ferry rides and breathtaking views. I will surely visit this place again!
So this was the second part of the trip. Keep travelling and stay tuned for my next posts on Udupi trip 🙂
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- Varanga Jain Basadi is the best place to visit in Karkala. It’s on the way from Udupi to Agumbe. If you are on this way, don’t miss to visit this ancient Jain temples
- The place consists of three Basadis mentioned above. Each of them has their own importance.
- Kere Basadi remains closed most of the time and devotees can request the priest of the Basadi to take them. The only way to reach this Basadi is in a small wooden boat.
- Ferry rides cost Rs.5 per person.
- It takes almost 1 to 1.5 hours to explore all Basadis.
- Photography needs prior permission. I was allowed to take pictures upon requesting the temple administrator.
- A Ratharohana happens every year on Hastha nakshatra which accounts a huge crowd of Jains.
- Swimming in the lake is strictly prohibited as it is heavily filled with aquatic plants and is considered sacred.
- The place is a bliss, hence please maintain cleanliness and silence.
- It’s a great learning about Jainism and Varanga culture.