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Indian Festivals> Maha Mastakabhisheka
| Maha Mastakabhisheka
Sharavana Belogola is a tiny town of Karnataka. It is often crowded with visitors. Every 12th year it becomes a major pilgrimage centre for Jain pilgrims. Jain pilgrims from all over India and abroad come to Sharavana Belogola to celebrate the Mastakabhisheka - the magnificent anointment; or sacred head-anointing ceremony. The ceremony is organised at the 57-foot high statue of the Jain sage Lord Bahubali, also known as Gomateshvara.
The night before the ceremony 1,008 pots - ‘Kalashas’ - holding sacred water are sold to devotees in an auction. The pots are left at the statue’s feet overnight. In the following morning, priests climb up the scaffolding specially-erected along the back of the statue and perform the Maha Mastakabhisheka by pouring water. Then water is followed by ghee, milk coconut water, turmeric paste, honey and vermillion powder. Unlike many festivals in India, the event is watched by thousands of devotees in complete silence. The next celebration will be between 2006-2008.