about 35 kms. north-east of Mangalore, literally means “eastern bamboo area”and it is likely that luxurious bamboo forests flourished near this place formerly. It is situated at a beautiful spot in the midst of hills. It is famous as the “Jaina Kashi” of the South. It is sanctified by the stay of great saints and poets.
Jains from all parts of India come here to worship in the famous 18 Jaina basadis that are dedicated to the memory of the Teerthankaras. According to a tradition,a Jaina ascetic came over to Moodabidri in the 8th century and there he saw a tiger playing with a cow and thought the place to be of significance. He found a black granite image of Parshwanatha (one of the 24 Teerthankaras) in the forest here and built a basadi at the spot and installed it there in 714 A.D. Henee this basadi is known as the Guru Basadi and as some scriptures are preserved here, it is also called the Siddhantha Basadi. It is also known as Hale (Old) Basadi.
The biggest baaad at Moodabidri is the Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi also known as the ” Basadi of a Thousand Pillars “, Chandranatha Basadi and Hosa (New) Basadi. It was built in 1429-1430. The Jaina devotees of Moodabidri constructed this basadi as directed by Devaraya Wodeyar who was the governor of Mangalore-rajya. Later in 1462, Bhairadevi added the elegant mantapa called after her. The image of Chandranatha, which is 6feet in height, is made of an alloy of five metals. The monument is famous for its beautiful carved pillars with miniature artistic pillars carved on them.
The other basadis at Moodabidri are the following :
(1) Badaga basadi
(2) Shettara basadi
(3) Hire basadi
(4) Betkeri basadi
(5) Koti basadi
(6) Vikrama Shetti basadi
(7) Kallu basadi
(8) Leppada basadi
(9) Deramma Shetti basadi
(10) Chola Shetti basadi
(11) Maday Shetti basadi
(l2) Baikanatikari basadi
(13) Kere basadi
(14) Padu basadi
(15) Shri Mathada basadi
(16) Jaina Pathashaleya basadi, ete. Nagagala Devi, the queen of Bhairava Raja, erected the Manastambha, a huge monolith of a height of 50 feet, in front of the basadi. There are elaborate carvings on the sides of the plinth of the basadi, which, inter alia, has the figures of a giraffe and a dragon ; this is perhaps indicative that the Jaina merchants of those days had extensive trade contacts.
The pillars in the room, which adjoins the sanctum, have carved figures of chauri-bearer, a man beating a drum, a man riding on a gaily-caparisoned elephant, a human garuda with wings. etc.
After the main entrance, there are Gopuradwara Mantapa, Bhairadevi Mantapa, Chitradevi Mantapa, Namaskara Mantapa, Teerthankara Mantapa, Lakshmi Mantapa (also called Gandha kuti Matapa) and Garbhagriha Mantapa. There are also images of Vedic gods and goddesses on the stone pillars of the Bhairadevi Mantapa and Chitradevi Mantnpa.
There are also many tombs of Jaina priests, only two of them standing apart from the rest being those of two wealthy Jaina merchants. These are lofty erections consisting of several storeys built of carefully cut litarate stones. They were originally ornamented with tall granite finials, most of which have now fallen down and have been set up in the compounds of temples or in private houses as curios
Moodabidri (35 kms. from Mangalore) is a place of cultural and historical importance. It is considered to be the “Holy Kashi” of the Jains. Thousands of Jains from all parts of India travel to this place to worship at the several Basadis (Jain temples) dedicated to the Tirthankaras, said to have been built in the l4th and l6th century. There are altogether 18 Jain temples and a Math of Sri Charukeerthi Swamiji. The greatest of the 18 temples is the magnificent Basadi of Sri chandranath. It is popularly known as the temple of 1000 pillars. This Basadi has three storeys, the top two being of wood carved with bronze tiles. The last and the lowest one is of stone. The whole temple is supported by 1000 pillars which are all elaborately carved.
Half a furlong from this temple, there is a street with rows of temples on either side. Among them there is a big temple known as Siddhanatha Basadi. The sacred original scriptures known as Siddhanatha are preserved here. Those are considered to be very sacred to the Jains since they are the earliest works written in the 7th century. PWD Bungalows and Dharmashalas managed by the Jain Samithi provide accomodation to the pilgrims at Moodabidri.