Shravanabelagola is a Jain pilgrimage in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It is known for its Vindyagiri Hills, which are the mount for the gigantic and the most sacred of Jain idols. The Gommateshwara Statue, 57-feet high monolithic statue, dedicated to the Jain God Bahubali, was built around 981 AD and is one of the largest free standing statues in the world.
The Bahubali statue is described as one of the mightiest achievements of ancient Karnataka in the realm of sculptural art.
The much popular Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsav, which is held once in every 12 years, worships the god in the form of the unique idol. The number 12 is auspicious in Jain scriptures and various stories are behind this. The most known fact is that it took almost 12 years to carve the mighty statue of Lord Bahubali in Shravanagolabela.
The festival attracts thousands of devotees from across the country, who arrive here to witness the grand spectacle. The word Mahamastakabhisheka is a combination of three words: maha (great), mastaka (head) and abhisheka (anointing). During the ceremony, the larger than life idol of the revered Jain lord is bathed in litres of milk, curd, ghee, saffron, coconut water, turmeric, vermilion and saffron paste, sprinkled with powders of sandalwood and flower petals. The ceremony is performed by several committees, which includes Kalasha (urn) distribution committee that looks into the distribution of Kalashas to the devotees who later performs the ritual of anointing of Bahubali.
Here are glimpses from the 88th Bahubali Mahamastakabhisheka.
Ras Al Khaimah