9 December 2017

Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava 2018 - About the Celebration and the History!!!

Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
'Bahubali', which means 'one with strong arms'

"Bahubali Bhagwanka Masthakabhishek, Masthakabhishek Mahamasthakabhishek"
The song which every jain kid like me knows and recalls the Mahamasthakabhisheka, everytime he/she hears it. 
Mahamasthakabhisheka is a celebration, a festivity which every Jain waits for, a celebration, celebrated once in every 12 years. The celebration, where the 57ft tall Monolithic idol is bathed(abhisheka) with pure water, milk, sugarcane, tender coconut water, khashaya(water with mixed herbs), rice flour, sandalwood paste, saffron paste, turmeric paste ending with sprinkling of fresh flowers so called pushpa rushti.

For me, I have heard about Mahamasthakabhisheka from my great grandmom, grand parents and my parents, the celebrations from 1953, 1967, 1981 and 1993, 2006 which I have witnessed myself. While my grandmom narrated the stories of her homestay in Shravanbeloga for months during 1953 Mahamasthakabhisheka, I myself recall my memories of 1993, when we used to visit our grand parents in Shravanabelagola almost every weekend during the six months long celebration.
Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
As you climb up the hill, Chikkabetta/Chandragiri and the pond as seen from Vindhyagiri
Shravanbelagola is a Jain pilgrimage in the southern part of Karnataka state of India. Nestled between two hills Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri, the place was called Belagola/Bili gola meaning white pond in Kannada, for the pond it has, later became Shravanabelagola, with the visit of many Jain monks(Shravan) to this place. It is known for the 57ft tall granite Monolithic statue of Gommateshwar Bhagwan Bahubali at the summit of Vindhyagiri.
Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
The first glimpse of the idol as you enter the final fortress.
Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
The history of the statue and celebration dates back to 981AD. Chamundaraya, was the Prime Minister in the kingdom of King Rachamalla of Ganga dynasty. His mother Kalaladevi who had heard about Emerald statue of Bahubali at Paudanapura, wanted to visit Paundanapur to have a look. She vowed of not having even a cup of milk till she saw the statue of Bahubali. While nobody knew where Paudanapura was, some assumed it had drowned and few thought it was in thick forests. With his mother's determined vow to see the idol, Chamundaraya along with his mother and few followers went in search of Paudanapura. While they camped at the foothills of Vindhyagiri during their search, Chamundaraya had a dream. In his dream goddess Kushmandinidevi appeared and told him to shoot an arrow to the boulder at the summit of Vindhyagiri which would highlight the boulder with the statue of Bhagawan Bahubali. Chamundaraya when woke up went with his dream and an arrow was shot at the boulder on Vidhyagiri, which resembled the one seen in his dream. Soon the rock slit and a beautiful image of Bahubali was visible. It was now to be carved into an idol, the hill which was full of pits,stones and thorny shrubs was cleared to get to the top to work. Soon the best of the best sculpturers Harishtanemi  was hired to carve the idol. It took 12 years for the statue to be carved and perform the first Mahamasthakabhisheka in 981AD.
Then after the ritual of bathing the idol once in every 12 years had been practised. Its just not ritual, but this bathing with milk, herbs, saffron and other liquids increases the longevity of the granite idol which has survived the wildest winds, rains and sun over the years.
Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
57ft tall magnificent monolothic statue of Bhagawan Bahubali

Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
Bowing at the foot of this magnificent idol, would wash away all sins.  
Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
The anthills, creepers which grew on this body, while he stood in deep penance
 You need to climb 647 steps to reach the idol. Apart from the Bahubali idol, there are eight small and large temples, four mantaps, two ponds, five gateways or fortresses, three pillars, two arches and 172 inscriptions. These, in Kannada, Sanskrti, Marvadi Mahajani, Tamil and Marathi, date from the late 10th to 19th century A.D.

Travel Tips:
Shravanabelagola is 157 km from Bangalore and 52 km from Hassan
By Road: Shravanabelagola is well connected by direct buses from Bangalore, Mysore and Hassan. You can also take any bus playing between Bangalore-Mangalore, Bangalore-Hassan and get down at Channarayapatna, which is 12km and take another bus to Shravanabelagola. But check prior boarding these buses, as these days the buses are non stop and do not stop in Channarayapatna.
By Train: Shravanabelagola has railway station and there are trains, playing to Bangalore, Mysore and Hassan.
By Air: Nearest Airport is Bangalore Airport which is around 165km.

There are yatri niwas and rooms for Jain in Shravanabelagola, for non-jain if you are looking for neat and good stay options, stay at Hassan which is 52km.

Bahubali, Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka 2018, Karnataka, Travel
This is 2006 Mahamasthakabhisheka pic I had clicked then with my Nokia 6600, remember the best camera phone of that time
Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava is scheduled from 17th Feb to 25th Feb 2018. There will be daily rituals for these nine days and then on based on sponsors for next few months, you can call and check at 081762 57258

Check our the complete Mahamasthakabhisheka Series here.

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