Tuesday, December 11, 2018
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Gomateshwara

 
Place : Hassan, Karnataka
Significance : One of the tallest statue in the world
Best time to Visit : Throughout the year.
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Shravanbelagola, the picturesque region ideally wedged in between the two scenic hills Chandragiri and Indragiri, is located 51 km south-east of Hassan in Karnataka. One of the most important Jain pilgrim centres of India it is about 52 km from Hassan, 84 km Halebid , 86 km from Belur and 155 km from Bengalooru. The name 'Shravana' means Jain Thirthankar and that of 'Belagola' gives a white lake. This celebrated Jain Pilgrimage town, dominated by the Bahubali Monolith. For centuries, Shravanabelagola visits thousands of pilgrims and tourists to see the magnificent, gigantic statue.

Atop the hill Indragiri, 3347 ft high, stands the Statue of Bahubali. Lord Gomatesheshwara was the Jain prince Bahubali. During a war with his greedy elder brother, Bharata who sought to usurp his kingdom, Bahubali accepted defeat at the moment of his victory when he realized the futility of it all. He renounced the world and his rights to his own kingdom, much to the severe repentance of Bharata and left to lead a life of penance and meditation, attaining Nirvana. Then Bahubali went on 'Vanaprastha' for 1000 years.

King Rishaba Natha then became the first 'Thirthankar' of the Jains and Bahubali came to be known as 'Gomateshwara'.

The statue of the Jain saint is carved out of a mountain. It is said to be one of the tallest and most graceful statues in the world. The colossal monolithic statue is 58 ft high, naked, with 26 ft wide shoulders, 10-ft of its feet. Starkingly simple, the beautifully chiseled features of this statue embody serenity.

Nearly 1,800 years old, the statue which is reached by climbing 700 steps carved in the steep granite slope, is symbolic of the renunciation of worldly possessions. This marvellous monolith sculpted by Aristanemi in 981 AD and Chamundaraya,  a general and minister of the Ganga King Rachamatta installed it  in 983 AD.

Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the 'Mahamastakabhisheka' (sacred anointment), a spectacular ceremony which is the focus for Jain pilgrims across India, held once in 12 years.  During this 'Abhishekha' the diety is bathed in a variety of sacred stuff such as hundreds of pots containing curds, milk, honey, sandal wood paste besides 1008 pots of holy water, vermilion, coconut water, turmeric paste and even gold and precious jewels are poured over the statue's head by priests. The festival came into practise in 1398.

This gigantic statue of Bahubali is carved out of a single block of granite.The saint is shown completely nude, in the Jain custom. His glance fixed steadfastly ahead, creepers winding around his legs and arms. It is 17 m. (55 ft) high and is visible from a distance of 30 km. The sculpture stands in a compoind surrounded by additional Tirthankara images. Its ceiling has figures of Dikpalas beginning with Indra.

This statue is now proposed as World Heritage Site by the Government of India.

 

   






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