Recently, we visited Arthipura near Kokkare Bellur to visit the archeological excavation site of ancient Jaina vestiges. I read news reports about this site so thought of visiting. I was sure that my family would not get bored, because they had really enjoyed our last visit to Keeladi, another archaeological site near Madurai, Tamil Nadu, where ASI unearthed remains of 2,200 to 2,300 year old houses and artifacts.
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Arthipura is a small village near Maddur in Mandya district. It is located 5 km south of Kokkare Bellur. It has two small hillocks, Shravanabetta and Chikkabetta or Kanakagiri.
Last year, archaeologists from ASI Bangalore found Jain temple complexes belonging to the earlier western Ganga dynasty. These temple complexes have granite Adishtanas (base of the temple) and brick walls. Although we have inscriptions related to Ganga dynasty in Shravanabelagola, these inscriptions from Arthipura were dated back to the early 10th century. So the discovery of these temple complexes makes us believe that this could be the older than Shravanabelagola.
ASI has also unearthed statues of dvarapalakas, goddesses and Adinatha, the first Thirthankara. The statue of Adinatha has beautiful carvings which is believed to belong to the Hoysala period.
Though Chikkabetta of Arthipura or Tippur was at its peak during the Hoysala period, evident from inscriptions dated 1117 AD, its earliest reference is dated to the Ganga dynasty of 559 AD.
A statue of Bahubali was installed in Shravanabetta which is considered earlier to the 60 feet Bahubali at Shravanabelagola.