Mangaluru, Feb 9: Devotees from different parts of the country started arriving at Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district, to witness the 10-day-long Mahamastakabhisheka for the monolith 39-foot-tall Bahubali statue.
Mahamastakabhisheka - the fourth since its installation in 1982 - had a formal beginning on Saturday with the start of rituals at the Ratnagiri Hill.
Following panchamruta abhishekam to the presiding deity at Shri Manjunatheshwara temple and to Chandranatha Theerthankaras at the Chandranatha Basadi, a procession of idols of the deity and theerthankaras was taken out from the Basadi to Ratnagiri. The procession was led by chende players and a musical band. They were followed by women carrying kalasha and men chanting shlokas. Sagar Muni Maharaj, Vardhamana Muni Maharaj, Lalitakeerti Bhattaraka Mahaswami from Karkala and nearly 80 Pinchadhaaris were part of the procession.
Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshetra Dharmastala D. Veerendra Heggade, his brothers Surendra Kumar, Harshendra Kumar, and Rajendra Kumar, his sister Padmalata and other family members were also part of the procession.
After the procession, Mr. Heggade and his family members welcomed the Jain munis and priests from Jain basadis from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. Under the guidance of Lalitakeerti Bhattaraka Mahaswami, Mr. Heggade and his family members performed “Thorana muhurta” that was followed by rituals for cleaning the area around the statue.
In the evening the yagnashala, created adjacent to the statue, was opened for performance of various yagnas.
There was a laser show on the life of Bahubali, which was inaugurated by Minister for Women and Child Welfare Jayamala.
A six-storey scaffolding has been erected for devotees to climb and perform Mahamastakabhisheka that starts from February 16. Openings are provided at the 4th, 5th and 6th floor of the scaffolding to perform the ritual. Lift facility has also been provided.
Two two-storey viewers’ galleries flanking the statue have been erected to help people view the rtuals.
Mahamastakabhisheka rituals get underway at Dharmasthala