About eight hundred odd inscriptions which the Karnataka Archeological Department has collected at the place are mostly Jaina and cover a very extended period from 600 to 1830 A.D. Some refer even to the remote time of Chandragupta Maurya and also relate the story of the first settlement of Jains at Shravanabelagola. That this village was an acknowledged seat of learning is proved from the fact that a priest from here named Akalanka was in 788 A.D. summoned to the court of Himasitala at Kanchi where having confuted the Buddhists in public disputation, he was instrumental in gaining their expulsion from the South of India to Ceylon.
At the time of the conversion of Vishnivardhana Hoysala to the Vaishanava faith by the reformer Ramanujacharya it is wrongly alleged that the Jains suffered much persecution, but in reality their influence at the court continued practically unabated. Differences between the Jains and Sri Vaishnavas existed, but a compromise was brought about in the time of Bukkaraya of Vijayanagar which resulted in a declaration of toleration which was inscribed on stones and set up in public places.
The place abounds in inscriptions, some of the most interesting of which are those cut on the floor of the rocks on Chandragiri in purva-Halagannada characters several inches long. For purposes of history there are numerous inscriptions giving details of great importance relating to the rise and growth in power of the Ganga kings, the death of the last of the Rashtrakutas, the establishment and expansion of the Hoysala kingdom, the supremacy of the Vijayanagar Empire and lastly the reign of the Mysore Royal House. In addition, these inscriptions have helped us to a great extent in understanding the nature and growth of Kannada language and literature.