This fast developing district headquarters is a picture of contrasts. While on one side is the old town area where cotton and silk weavers still create the famous
sarees, on the other side is the modern, bustling, tree-lined cantonment built by the British. Over
several decades, monuments of historical importance at the Belgaum cantonment have been attracting tourists in large numbers. The Belgaum fort takes center stage, and at the Fort entrance are two shrines, one dedicated to Lord
Ganapathi, and the other to Goddess Durga.
KAMAL BASADI: Within the walls of the fort is Kamal Basadi, a historic, Chalukya style Jain temple. A fabulous Neminatha idol in black stone, found in this temple, is one of the greatest creations of history. The masterpiece of this temple is the "Mukhamantapa" with a well executed lotus on its ceiling.
For long, Belgaum has been a famous centre for Jains and is home to many ancient Jain temples. The trend of constructing Jain temples in this region started during the period of Chalukyas of Kalyana who were the Chief power in the Deccan from the 10th to 12th century. Innovative builders, their influence continued to inspire the other
dynasties like the Hoysalas, Gangas, Kadambas and Rattas too, resulting in many Jain temples in and around Belgaum.
Presently under the jurisdiction of the Archeological Department, Kamal Basdi is so called because of the dome
(Gumbaj) of the temple which is constructed in the form
of a lotus made out of 72 petals. The past, present and future 24 Tirthankars of each period are shown on the 72 petals of the lotus flower. The stone carved Sinhasan of Bhagwan Neminath is very artistic. The pillars of the temple are decorated with carvings and are brightly polished. As per historical findings, the idol of Bhagwan Neminatha was found in the forest about 200 years ago. The history of idols and other statues of this temple can be traced back to 11th century AD.
Attractive idols of Bhagwan Sumatinath in the kayotsarga posture, idol of Bhagwan Parshwanatha under the shade of seven-hooded
Nagaraj, idol of Bhagwan Adinath in the padmasana posture and the idol of Navagraha can also be seen in this temple.
Raju Doddannavar, a member of the noted Doddannavar family of Belgaum, which is taking care of Kamal Basadi for almost 100 years now, says, “The prayers at this temple have hardly stopped ever since it was built centuries ago. Though the British stopped the pooja at the temple in the 1940s, my great grandfather Basappa Doddannavar and my grandfather Ramachandra
Doddannavar, used to squeeze into the temple from one corner to offer prayers.''
He said his was the fourth generation to take care of the temple. The Archaeological Department took up the total renovation of this temple in 1996 and did it without disturbing its original plans and shape. The temple has gained prominence in the recent years owing to the visit of noted Jain munis. Tarun Sagar
Maharaj, a noted Jain saint, often visits the fort locality and gives discourses. The temple management has also started constructing a Muni Nivas at the premises of Kamal Basadi to house Jain swamis.
Source: Deccan Herald - The magic of stone: May 29, 2007