GOMMATESHWARA BAHUBALI

Gommateshwara Bahubali

 "Silence and self control is non violence"

Sravanabelagola, Karnataka

Climbing the seven hundred steps that lead to the monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali, leaves one spellbound at the architecture, structure and the years of rich heritage this southern Indian town of Shravanabelagola is witness to.

One of the most important pilgrimage places ( ‘Tirthas’) for Jainism, Shravanabelagola is spread between two hills – Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri. Chandragiri hill has memorials of many monks who meditated here dating back to fifth century AD.

Chandragupta Maurya , founder of Maurya Empire in India is believed to have renounced his throne and meditated in Shravanabelagola . He lived as an ascetic before fasting to death.

The statue of Lord Bahubali stands on the Vindhyagiri hill. Bahubali is the first ‘Tirthankara’ of Jainism. Believed to have meditated here after fighting a war with his own brother,  he renounced the  world and stood here motionless for a duration of one year until climbers grew around his legs. After this one year he attained ‘Moksha’.

Built in 981 AD , the statue of Lord Bahubali shows the powerful and mighty Lord in the meditative position , standing upright with slight yet profound smile overlooking Shravanabelagola.

 It is one of the largest monolithic statue, standing 57 feet tall, carved out of a single granite rock.The base has inscriptions dating back to 981 AD Once every twelve years , a ceremony called ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ is performed  in which the statue is anointed with turmeric, rice flour, sugar cane juice, sandalwood paste, saffron, giving it hues of orange and red and gold.

 

Whether it is the enormous presence of Lord Bahubali - the one who renounced the world after winning a war,  or the presence of monks with their holy books and scriptures,  visiting Sravanbelagola is a life changing experience. One that is peaceful, humbling and immensely soul stirring.

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