Mahamastakabhisheka is a festival cum anointment ceremony of Bahubali’s (Son of Bhagwan Rishabhdeva the first Jain Tirthankara) statue at Shravanbelgola in Karnataka. The festival is celebrated primarily by the Jain community after 12 years. The last anointing ceremony took place in February 2018 and the next will be held in February 2030. The statue is also known as Gomateshwara statue and is visited by Jain devotees and tourists in general from around the world.
As demonstrated by the legend, Bahubali was the child of Bhagwan Rishabhadeva. Right when Rishabhadeva wound up an austere, he left his things, place and divided his property between his two kids Bahubali and Bharata. While Vinita (Ayodhya) was given to Bharata, Bahubali got the kingdom of Podanpur (Taxila).
In spite of the fact that Bharata had his very own kingdom, he started envying his brother, as Podanpur was booming all around. So he fought his kin to vanquish Podanpur. In the battle, the annoyed Bharata threw a chariot wheel at Bahubali, which didn't impact him as a result of its divine powers. He at that point chose to follow his father's path by denying his property. As per the folklore, Bahubali stood there and meditated to several years in standing position and attained salvation. Since then the locals started constructing the statues of Bahubali for Mahamastakabhisheka.
Tallest Monolithic Statue. The idol of Bahubali in Shravanbelgola is known to be one of the tallest monolithic structures in the world. This 57 feet granite statue is believed to have been carved and built-in 983 AD by Chamunda-Raya the ruler of the Ganga dynasty.
Rituals of the Anointment Ceremony. On this occasion, the statue of Bahubali is bathed and purified with water sandalwood paste, flowers, turmeric, milk, vermilion, and sugarcane juice. Devotees walk up the side structures to reach the top of the idol and offer flowers. Besides flowers and edible items, people also offer silver and gold coins as a mark of respect. A parade is also carried out from Bhagavan Chandranath Swami Basadi to Rathnagiri.
1008 Vessels. The Mahamastakabhisheka of Bahubali is done with 1,008 kalashas. The volunteers then use these vessels to distribute the prasad or god’s offerings amongst the devotees and visitors.
By Road. Shravanbelagola is well connected via road network hence people may consider traveling by road. One option is to get on an inter-state tourist bus to reach the holy site and the other is to drive to the place in your personal vehicle. Tourists arriving from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru are required to cover nearly 2300, 940, 2000 and 150km respectively to reach the town.
By Rail. Mandagere railway station is the nearest to reach Shravanbelgola. The station is nearly 25km away from the town and after deboarding the train one can either take a taxi or get on a local bus to reach the town. Trains from all parts of the country arrive here hence one may consider traveling by train. One may consider traveling by Gomteshwara Express, Yesvantpur Karwar Express, and Solapur Hassan Express.
By Air. Mysore airport is the nearest to reach the town. Flights from all the major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru arrive here. From the airport, one can either hire a taxi or get on a local bus to reach the desired location in the town.
12 Feb – 17 Feb 2030
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