SHRAVANABELAGOLA:This time, Mahamastakabhisheka will have a Kashmir connect. Top notch saffron grown in Pampore region in Kashmir valley will be used for anointing Bahubali statue.
Rajendra Kumar Jain, a devotee from Tumakuru, has brought 3 kg of saffron from the Unique Saffron Growers Welfare and Marketing Cooperative of Pampore, a place known for producing the world’s “finest and purest saffron”. Jain, who has been trading in saffron for decades, donated the saffron to Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Shravanabelagola mutt.
The type of saffron is endemic to Pampore region. Sources said Sher-e-Kashmir University is running a project in association with local cooperative bodies to improve saffron output in the valley. Saffron output has come down in Pampore due to uncertain weather. As a result, the prices have shot up, sources said.
For Jain, however, the cost is not an issue. “Devotion is primary. We do not worry about the cost. God will give wealth and health if we serve the needy and contribute to religious functions”, he said.
Sources in the mutt said it is for the first time that saffron is brought directly from Pampore for the once-in-12-years event.Shravanabelagola will also have the fragrance of jasmine from Udupi district.Suji Mallige (as it is locally called) grown at Shankarapura and Shirva in the coast district will be part of the pushparchane on the first day of the main Mahamastakabhisheka event on February 17, according to Jain.
There are close to 400 inscriptions that are found in two main hills of Shravanbelagola. The history of Chandragiri, also known as Chikka Betta dates backs to 3-4 century and several old inscriptions have been recorded here from time to time. The ASI will now be digitising all the inscriptions. “Some of the inscriptions were fading and we have increased the protection around such writings. The ASI also have old records of these inscriptions which are being digitised,” the official added.