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Shravanbelagola gears up for Mahamastakabhishek celebrations

Shravanbelagola (Karnataka) [India], Jan.30 (ANI): Shravanbelagola town in Karnataka is gearing itself up for the Mahamastakabhishek of the monolith statue of Lord Gommateshwara Bahubali due next month.

The event is conducted once every twelve years. Lord Gommateshwara is the son of the first Jain Tirthankara Rishabhanatha, who is credited for formulating and organising humans to live in a society harmoniously.

Legend has it that Lord Gommateshwara fought with his brother Bharat, but thereafter, realizing the futility of it all, he renounced everything. He is said to have stood motionless in penance (Kayotsarga posture) for a years before attaining Kevala Gyan (Omniscience).

The head anointing ritual has been performed since 981 A. D., when a massive statue was erected by Chavundaraya, a minister in the court of the Ganga rulers of the time. Chavundaraya, on a pilgrimage with his mother, had a dream wherein the goddess appeared and guided him to erect a statue of Lord Gommateshwara.

His Holiness Jagadguru Karmyaogi Swastishri Charukirti Bhattaraka Swamiji of Jain Matha, Shravanbelagola, under whose leadership celebrations are being organised, recently addressed media from across the country and informed them about the scale of preparations going on in the run up to the celebrations that will see lakhs of devotees thronging this place over the next few weeks.

He said that the head anointment ceremony coincides with specific stellar combinations in the months of Magha-Phalgun when the weather in Shravanbelagola is pleasant.

He said such celebrations have multiple impact, adding that it not only helps spread the message of Jainism in the true spirit, but also, binds the young generation to age-old beliefs. A religion must be able to answer their questions in a scientific manner, he said.

The statue of Lord Gommateshwara is anointed with purified water, turmeric and saffron paste, sandalwood paste, sugarcane juice, flower petals, milk and powder of rice and vermillion among others. Acidic elements like curds as also warm water are avoided, he added.

The Abhishek rituals shall be conducted between 8 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. every day from 17th February onwards. Post that, i.e. from 2 p.m. onward, anybody can pay homage at the venue. A massive scaffolding has been erected to hoist 5000 people for the Abhisheka at a cost of around Rs. 11 crores and shall remain so till August.

The scaffolding work for the Mahamastakabhishek is nearing completion

The Karnataka government is reportedly spending Rs. 75 crores for erecting temporary accommodation for the lakhs of devotees visiting the holy town as also towards facilitating developmental works in towns like Tyagi Nagar, Kalasha Nagar 1 and 2, Panchkalyanak Nagar, Patrakar Nagar, Police Personnel Nagar, VIP Nagar, Yatri Nagar, Volunteers Nagar, etc.

Seventeen dining halls have been erected to serve a whopping two lakh devotees every day. One of the dining halls shall specially cater to the Tyagis.

It was informed that around 25 to 30 lakh devotees are expected to visit Shravanbelagola till August and that the Matha is prepared to welcome them and more.

Adequate security arrangements have been made with the help of the district administration which includes 7000 police personnel with some more being added as the days progress and the crowds swell.

Around 400 Jain monks, Sadhus and Sadhvis as also scores of visitors from abroad are slated to witness this celebration.

At a glance:

-530 acres of land acquired on temporary basis for the arrangements of the Mahamastakabhishek

-Rs. 11 crores being spent on the accommodation of devotees and visitors

-7000 Police personnel to be deployed for security purposes

-400 Jain Saints, Sadhus and Sadhvis to attend the celebrations

-17 dining halls to cater to 2 lakh devotees per day

-450 tonnes of material imported from Germany to erect the scaffolding that uses the safest 'ring-and-lock' technology.

-12 townships to house lakhs of devotees (ANI)

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