The Mahamasthakabhisheka, is the head anointing ceremony, of Gommateshwara Bhagawan Bahubali statue the colossus, the tallest monolith in the world atop the Vindyagiri hill at Shravanabelagola held once every twelve years. It is an integral religious and ancient composite Indian tradition It is a rare feast to the eyes and a meritorious opportunity to the devotees and tourists.
The ritual Mahamasthakabhisheka of Gommateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola is in memory of the first consecratory bath Prathista Abhisheka performed to the image by the Ganga Prime Minister Chavundaraya and his guru Achaiya Sri Nemichandra Siddhantha Chakravarthi The 57 ft tall image was executed from the summit of the 3347 ft. high granitic hill Vindyagiri or Indragiri in the year 981 A.D.under the inspiration of his mother Kalala Devi After the event, it seems, there have been regular ceremonies of head anorntmg and the sacred bath once every 12 years According to the inscription no 360 of the Epigraphica Carnatica, a grand 12 yearly ceremony took place in the year 1398 AD and 7 such ceremonies during the years 1612 1659, 1677 1800 1875 and 1887 had taken places earlier. Most of subsequent ceremonies are recorded in literature inscriptions of the later periods.
The ritual Mahamasthakabhisheka of the Gommateshwara image at Shravanabelagola is in memory of the first consecratory bath Prathista Abhisheka given to the image by the Chamundaraya and his guru Acharya Sri Nemichandra Siddantha Chakravarthi.
After the event, there were regular ceremonies of head anointing and sacred bath every 12 years. Most of the later ceremonies are recorded in literature and in inscriptions of the later periods. At present, freshest and purest tender coconut, sugarcane juice, milk, rice flour, turmeric paste, kashaya (herbal concoction), shrigandha (sandal paste), chandana (coloured sandal paste), ashtagandha (8 varieties of sandal paste), saffron, gold and silver flowers, and precious stones, culminating in a spectacular shower of flowers from a helicopter.
On significant occasions such as the installation of a new idol, the completion of a long-drawn penance, the anniversaries of the great events of the Jina’s life or in its Culmination. the annual paryushana festival, a rathayathra or a chariot festival is organised.
The belief that every Tirthankara undergoes the five-benedictory events-conception, birth, renunciation, enlightenment and nirvana (liberation from body), presaging freedom from Karma, are important festivals of Jainism. To a large extent the Jam mythology, iconography and ritualism revolve around this concept and the ritual of consecration is no exception,. A new idol is consecrated by the ritual enactment of the above five events on the image.
The Pratistha Thilaka describes in detail the technical aspects of the consecration ritual. Such is the importance and significance of the Abhisheka or bath of the image in Jainism. The idea of giving purificatory bath to the image for consecration is common in other creeds too. But the concept of initiation of the image through the five great events, including the bath after the great event of birth is peculiar to Jainism alone Janmahhisheka – Kalyana.