Gerusoppa-‘The Harappa of Jains’
Gerusoppa in Honnavar taluk of Uttara Kannada is a popular Jain Heritage centre and is known as ‘Harappa of Jains’.
Jainism flourished in this district during the period of 13th – 16th century. Gerusoppa situated on the banks of the river Sharavathi was the capital of Suluva Jain kings. The period of Queen Chennabhairadevi (1554 – 1602 AD) -who ruled for 54 years is also known as Pepper queen as the export of the pepper reached highest mark at that period- is the golden period of history of Uttara Kannada. She was at war with the Portuguese in 1559 and again in 1570. She won the war with her intelligent battle strategy. One of the Portuguese chronicles states that during the war of 1570, the Portuguese attacked Honnavar and burnt it to the ground. After the decline of Vijayanagar, Chennabhairadevi dealt with the Portuguese diplomatically, who nicknamed her ‘Raina de Pimenta’ — the Pepper Queen.
Chaturmukha Basadi, the 14th century Jain basti is one of Karnataka’s architectural wonders, hidden in the midst of the Western Ghats in Gerusoppa. Your journey will take you past mountain waterfalls and across the perilous rope bridges that hang over the Sharavati river. This temple, which is hardly known to the world, is also called the Gerusoppa temple. It was patronised by the British officers who served in Honnavar. The temple complex has great tourism potential, located as it is in the midst of nature’s wild beauty. “Beautiful Hoysala-style architecture can be seen in this Jain temple and the many statues and manuscripts found here stand testimony to the fact that the Salva rulers were great patrons of the art and architecture. The Chaturmukha Basadi, built completely out of granite, contains statues of four Jain `teerthankaras’. The statues are well-polished.
Uttara Kannada had more than 500 Jain temples at that time but now only few are left in Honnavar and Bhatkal taluks and most of them in their ruins. Apart from Chaturmukha basti, there are other buildings, statues, stone-edicts in the adjoining areas The idols in these temples are very magnanimous and famous for attractive carving around these idols. Owing to vast unexplored heritage and ruins related to Jain culture Uttara Kannada is sometimes called as “Harappa of Jains’ and a must place for visitors to India. When one visits here the pages of history gets open.