Mahamastakabhishekha (Grand ­ Head-Anointing Ceremony)

March-April; every 10-15 years during the Jain month of Caitra
The huge image of Bahubali (also known as Gomateshwara), who was the son of the first Jaina tirthankara (spiritual guide), was sculpted out of rock at Shravanabelagola in the District of Hassan, Karnataka State, India, and dedicated on March 13, 981. The image of Bahubali, which at 57 feet stands higher than the Colossus of Rhodes, honors a Jaina ascetic who gave up his kingdom and renounced the world after a conflict with his brother, who was the crown prince, made him realize how selfish and acquisitive people really were.
The Grand Head-Anointing Ceremony, as the event is known, only takes place when a certain conjunction, a coincidence of astrological events, occurs—every 10-15 years. Huge numbers of Jaina devotees attend the ceremony. Special scaffolding is set up behind the statue to hold Jaina monks and priests, who pour 1,008 pots of holy liquid—consisting of water, coconuts, plantains, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, almonds, dates, poppy seeds, milk, curds, sandalwood, gold foil, silver foil, and precious gems and coins—over its head. Attendees shout in devotion as the statue is ritually bathed.
Karnataka Tourism
Khanija Bhavan, No. 49, 2nd Fl., Race Course Rd.
Bengalooru, Karnataka 560 001 India
91-80-22352828; fax: 91-80-22352626
FestIndia-1987, p. 116
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.