Karkala Gomateshwara is located about a kilometre away from the centre of Karkala, a small town. It is located in the picturesque Shiradi ghats, about 55 km towards the Northeast of Mangalore and about 370 km from Bangalore. It is essentially a temple town and has a famous Vishnu temple, but it is known more for its monolithic statue of Bahubali called the Karkala Gomateshwara.
Karkala Gomateshwara is located atop a hill, called the Bahubali hill. It is a towering monolithic granite structure and one among the five main Gomateshwaras in the state. It rises 42 feet and is the second tallest in the state after the Gomateshwara in Shravanabelagola. It was established in 1432 AD by King Veera Pandya following instructions from Guru Lalitakeerti who headed the Karakala Jain Mutt. From the base of the hill, a slightly curving set of steps, quite steep in places, leads visitors to the top. On the way is the Parshwanatha Padmavati Basadi, a Jain shrine. The statue is enclosed by a square compound in front of which is a tall carved pillar called the manasthamba, and flanked by shrines dedicated to Parshwanatha and Sheetalanatha. There is also a large mantapa for conducting yajnas and other rituals. The hills where the Karkala Gomateshwara is located also provides panoramic views of the surrounding areas including the famous Ramasamudra lake.
Apart from Karkala Gomateshwara the other Jain monuments worthy of a visit in Karkala are the Chaturmukha Basadi, which is so called because it has four entrances, and is believed to have been built in the mid 16th century by King Bhairasa the Second. It has beautiful high ceilings and has shrines dedicated to three Jain Tirthankaras Sri Arhat, Malli and Suvrate apart from smaller images of 24 Tirthankaras. Other must see places include the Neminatha Basadi in Hiriangadi, Attur and Moodabidri.