One of the most revered Jain pilgrim sites in India, Moodbadri is a small town, which is around 35 km north-eastwards of Mangalore. An ancient center of Jain learning, the place is also known as ‘Jain Kashi’ of Southern India. The town has 18 Jain temples, known as Basadis, out of which the most popular and the oldest one is Thousand Pillar Jain Basadi (temple). It is also popular with other names like Chandranatha Basadi and Savira Kambada basadi. This huge temple in granite was constructed in the year 1430 AD. The main entrance of the temple faces eastwards and leads you to a splendid front doorway with 15 m tall monolithic pillar, Mahastamba. This huge pillar was installed here by Queen Nagala Devi, the wife of Bhairava Raja, the then ruler of the region. It is believed that no 2 pillars here are identical to each other.
The eight mantapas here include Mahadwar, Bhairadevi, Chitradevi, Namaskaara, Teerthankara and Garbhagruha. Bahira Devi Mantapa is the most popular one, mainly because of its beautiful pillars. One can also find Chinese-style dragon carvings on the outer side of this mantapa. Carvings also include those of Giraffe and the Arabian horse as well, depicting foreign influence on Jainism, mainly because of the trade relations.
One of the prime highlights of 1000 pillar Jain temple in Moodbadri is it 8 -feet high bronze idol of Lord Chandranatha Swami- the presiding deity (8th Jain Tirthankar), placed in Garbha Griha or the main sanctum. The other idols of Jain Tirthankars in the temple complex include Chandraprabha and Supaarshwa. A special sculpture of an elephant with nine dancers, called Navanaari kuinjara, looks quite stunning.
The Jain merchants, the rulers of the region, Jain Bhattaraka Swamiji and the locals, all have patronized this Jain Basadi in Moodbadri. The open-pillared hall with a number of ornate pillars adorned with Vijayanagara style carvings is the other highlight. The temple also has a priceless collection of jewel-encrusted metallic images of Jain tirthankaras and monolithic columns of Jainsim with wonderful carvings. The temple has three floors.