SHRAVANABELAGOLA: The 88th Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations kicked off with a grand inaugural ceremony at Shravanabelagola on Wednesday. President of India Ramnath Kovind inaugurated the event in the presence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries at the foothills of the Vindyagiri Hills, where the 57-feet-tall monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali stands.
Mahamastakabhisheka is held once in 12 years, and the festivities are being held for the second time in this millennium. While Mahamastakabhisheka will be held on February 17, abhisheka will continue till February 26. Panchakalyana Pooja will continue till February 17. Over 28-30 lakh visitors are expected to visit Shravanabelagola during the 19-day religious event. Hundreds of spiritual and religious leaders, including at least 105 nuns have arrived from different parts of North India atShravanabelagola. This is considered to be the largest Jain community event in the world. On February 21, NRIs will perform abhisheka.
The Mahamastakabhisheka begins with devotees carrying 108 kalashas (holy pots). The statue is then bathed and anointed with libations such as water, milk, sugarcane juice and saffron paste, and sprinkled with powders of sandalwood, turmeric and vermilion. Later, devotees will perform abhisheka in 1,008 holy pots till the end of the event.
The cultural events started from Wednesday evening. More than 1,200 artistes from local and different parts of the state will perform during 19 days of the religious event. The renowned singer, including Vijayaprakash, will also perform. Twelve townships have been set up for the accommodation of nearly 20,000 people who have come from different parts of India and the world.
CCTV cameras, drones to keep an eye
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Shravanabelagola. According to Hassan SP Rahul Kumar Shahapurwad, around 5,500 police personnel, including different forces of the state will be deployed during the event. Anti-sabotage squads, motorcycle squads and many such have been formed to ensure 24/7 security. Besides CCTV cameras, drones are being used for the first time in Shravanabelagola to keep an eye on the developments.
Rituals begin at 6.33 am
Shravanabelagola: Mahamastakabhisheka rituals began with a special pooja to the foot of the Gomateshwara statue atop Vindhyagiri at 6.33 am on Wednesday. A group of 10 priests and Sanskrit scholars conducted a homa and a gana homa and recited shlokas on the occasion. Thousands of devotees participated in the suprabhata march. The march was flagged off by Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swami, the head of Digambar Jain Mutt. Over 200 monks blessed the devotees and the priests offered special pujas to Jain Basadis at Chandragiri. Rituals like Panchakalyana, Gharbha Kalyan, Janakalyana, Deekshakalyana, and Kevalakalyana will be held as per the Jain tradition till February 26.
Hassan: Elaborate security arrangements are in place in Shravanabelagola. Over 4,000 policemen were deployed in the wake of the President’s visit on Wednesday. Around 150 CCTV cameras have been installed. ADGP-KSRP Bhaskar Rao, who has been posted by the government as the nodal officer for the event, said that the police have taken adequate steps to maintain law and order in the town.
KSRTC to ply additional buses
Mysuru: In order to clear the extra rush of passengers in the wake of Mahamastakabisheka, KSRTC Mysuru division will operate more than 25 additional buses from February 17. KSRTC Divisional Controller Vasu said the corporation will operate the additional buses for 10 days and it will increase the number of buses and schedule after reviewing the demand.