Shravanabelagola abounds with vibes of solemnity

On Wednesday, it was mostly people from neighbouring villages making the tiring journey up Vindhyagiri hill to see the monolith of Bahubali.

Though the festival which happens once in 12 years was inaugurated on Wednesday, the main rituals at the Gomateshwara statue begin only on February 17.

A few senior citizens used the doli service to get up the hill, while others braved the sun and took the tougher route of climbing the stone steps barefoot.

The path leading to the temple has Jain flags all along, fluttering in the wind. Scouts and Guides from local colleges stand prepared with bottles of water to quench the thirst of devotees.

Monika G D, a first year BSc student from Government Science College, Hassan, is here along with a group of 20 others from her college.

“From around the state, there are about 250 of us now. But in a few days, nearly 5,000 Scouts and Guides from all over the country will join us. We are in charge of managing the crowd, food supply and security,” she said.

The volunteers will stay in tent accommodations at Shravanabelagola and they will leave only after the festivities conclude.

The arrival of devotees at the temple entrance was marked by the continuous beeping of a walk-through metal detector. The chirping of the machine will only increase in the coming days as tens of thousands of pilgrims enter the temple to perform or watch the abhishekas.

With 10 days to go for the main ritual of anointment, work is in full swing to give the scaffolding final touches and to instal two lifts with 1,000-kg capacity each.

The high-rise structure built around the Gomateshwara statue using German technology will give at least 5,000 visitors a view of the abhisheka rituals. They can also get a birds eye view of the nearby villages and the 12 satellite towns created for the grand event.

On Wednesday, workers were busy filling 20 drums with 500 litres of water to test if the supporting structure was sturdy enough to withstand 10,000-kg weight.

The highest level of the scaffolding will put visitors right above the head of the 57-foot-tall Bahubali, from where holy water, turmeric, milk and other substances will be poured on the statue.

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What is Mahamastakabhisheka?

It is the head-anointing ceremony of the statue of Bahubali, son of the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Adinath. Bahubali is revered for renouncing his kingdom and becoming a liberated soul through meditation.

Watch event in virtual reality!

The official app of the festival allows remote viewers to experience the anointment rituals in virtual reality. The app also has audio guides on heritage sites for visitors, live-streaming of events, and hotel bookings.

Schedule

February 8 to 16

Consecration, Panchakalyana and various Aradhanas

February 17

First Mahamastakabhisheka (108 kalashas)

February 18

Second Mahamastakabhisheka (1,008 kalashas)

February 19 to 25

Mahamastakabhisheka – Daily anointment with 1,008 kalashas of tender coconut, sugarcane juice, milk, etc.

February 26

Valedictory function

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On Wednesday, it was mostly people from neighbouring villages making the tiring journey up Vindhyagiri hill to see the monolith of Bahubali.

Though the festival which happens once in 12 years was inaugurated on Wednesday, the main rituals at the Gomateshwara statue begin only on February 17.

A few senior citizens used the doli service to get up the hill, while others braved the sun and took the tougher route of climbing the stone steps barefoot.

The path leading to the temple has Jain flags all along, fluttering in the wind. Scouts and Guides from local colleges stand prepared with bottles of water to quench the thirst of devotees.

Monika G D, a first year BSc student from Government Science College, Hassan, is here along with a group of 20 others from her college.

“From around the state, there are about 250 of us now. But in a few days, nearly 5,000 Scouts and Guides from all over the country will join us. We are in charge of managing the crowd, food supply and security,” she said.

The volunteers will stay in tent accommodations at Shravanabelagola and they will leave only after the festivities conclude.

The arrival of devotees at the temple entrance was marked by the continuous beeping of a walk-through metal detector. The chirping of the machine will only increase in the coming days as tens of thousands of pilgrims enter the temple to perform or watch the abhishekas.

With 10 days to go for the main ritual of anointment, work is in full swing to give the scaffolding final touches and to instal two lifts with 1,000-kg capacity each.

The high-rise structure built around the Gomateshwara statue using German technology will give at least 5,000 visitors a view of the abhisheka rituals. They can also get a bird’s eye view of the nearby villages and the 12 satellite towns created for the grand event.

On Wednesday, workers were busy filling 20 drums with 500 litres of water to test if the supporting structure was sturdy enough to withstand 10,000-kg weight.

The highest level of the scaffolding will put visitors right above the head of the 57-foot-tall Bahubali, from where holy water, turmeric, milk and other substances will be poured on the statue.

*************

What is Mahamastakabhisheka?

It is the head-anointing ceremony of the statue of Bahubali, son of the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Adinath. Bahubali is revered for renouncing his kingdom and becoming a liberated soul through meditation.

Watch event in virtual reality!

The official app of the festival allows remote viewers to experience the anointment rituals in virtual reality. The app also has audio guides on heritage sites for visitors, live-streaming of events, and hotel bookings.

Schedule

February 8 to 16

Consecration, Panchakalyana and various Aradhanas

February 17

First Mahamastakabhisheka (108 kalashas)

February 18

Second Mahamastakabhisheka (1,008 kalashas)

February 19 to 25

Mahamastakabhisheka – Daily anointment with 1,008 kalashas of tender coconut, sugarcane juice, milk, etc.

February 26

Valedictory function

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