The Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsava is an anointing ceremony of the statue of Lord Bahubali, the son of lord Rishabhanatha who was the first of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The 10-day festival will be celebrated at a large scale in Karnataka's Dharmasthala from February 9. Also referred as Grand Consecration, Mahamastakabhisheka is performed once in 12 years. The 'padabhisheka' to the statue is held every year. This year, Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsava will be observed from February 9 to February 18. The sculpture of Lord Bahubali stands for renunciation, self-control and subjugation of the ego as a reflection of his life. The mahamastakabhisheka of Lord Bahubali was earlier performed in 1982, 1995, and in 2007 in Dharmasthala.
The ceremony is performed in presence of Jain acharyas (ascetics).
An 'Agrodaka' procession will take place today from Shri Chandranathaswamy Basadi to Rathnagiri Betta on February 9. The actual anointment rituals with 1,008 kalash (urns) will be held for three-days starting from February 16.
Purified water and sandalwood paste is poured over the statue from a scaffolding. This event continues for weeks. As the Mahamastakabhisheka begins, consecrated water is sprinkled onto the participants by devotees carrying 1,008 specially prepared vessels. The statue is then bathed and anointed with milk, sugarcane juice, saffron paste, and sprinkled with powders of sandalwood, turmeric, and vermilion.
Last year, the anointing ceremony of the Gommateshwara Bahubali statue at Shravanabelagola took place from February 17 to February 25. Other anointing ceremonies of Bahubali statues take place at Karkala and Venur in Karnataka and Kumbhoj in Maharashtra.