Shravanabelagola is located near Bangalore, India, on the Vidyagiri Hills. The colossal sized monolithic statue of the jain God Bahubali or Gomoteshwara is located here. The gentle and serene smile of this 57feet high granite statue will bring one peace at just the sight of it. It has been meticulously curved out o produce this majestic figure. Hemchandra, a jain poet, had described the Gommateshwara statue as “verily the personification of tranquillity”.
Every 12 years this work of Jain art is visited by thousands of devotees and pilgrims from almost everywhere of the globe for the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony. Although this ceremony is a mark of Jain pilgrimage but according to history it is said to have great implication on the socio-political structure of Karnataka.
Bahubali is the son of the first Tirthankara of Jainism and is a celebrated figure among Jains. It is believed that he has attained liberty from earthly desires by long meditations.
Built in 983 AD, the statue of Gomateshwara is the largest statue in the world which is free standing. Chamunda Raya, a minister of the Ganga dynasty is thought to be the person under who’s supervision this statue was erected. Although there are doubts regarding the fact that weather Chamunda Raya had built it or he just discovered it.
Bahubali is nude and faces north with broad sholders with hanging arms. Ant hills cover the lower portion of the body. His eyes are in serene meditative spirit which brings peace by just a look at it.
It is believed that Chamunda Raya performed the first Mahamastakaabhisheka in 13th March, 981 AD. Previously this ceremony used to happen every 15 years at the auspicious day decided by the position of the heavenly bodies but with time it was decided to happen every 12 years and the last one was held in 2018.
Located 160 Kms from Bangalore Shravanabelagola is a small township in the Hassan district of Karnataka. The Mahamastakabhisheka , observed every 12 years begins by the carrying of 1008 Kalashs. The 57 feet statue is bathed with water, turmeric, sugarcane juice, saffron paste, sandwood. Tons and tons of materials are used for the ceremony. The involvement of about thousands and crores of rupees makes this ceremony absolutely special. The spectacle is undoubtedly one of the best every seen in any religious events.
It was not at all an easy task to get to shoot the main event as the protection was enormous. However after the effort as I could get into shoot the event was worth it. I tried to portray the event so that you can get the real sense of the religious spectacle of this rare event.