“The Mahamasthakabhisheka (or Mahamasthak Abhishek) is an important Jain festival held once every twelve years in the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka state, India. The festival is held in veneration of an immense 18 meter high statue of the Bhagwan (or Saint) Gomateshwara Bahubali. The anointing last took place in February 2006, and the next ceremony will occur in 2018.

As the Mahamasthakabhisheka begins, consecrated water is sprinkled onto the participants by devotees carrying 1,008 specially prepared vessels. The statue is then bathed and anointed with libations such as milk, sugarcane juice, and saffron paste, and sprinkled with powders of sandalwood, turmeric, and vermilion. Offerings are made of petals, gold and silver coins, and precious stones. Most recently, the ceremony's finale has included an enormous shower of flowers from a waiting helicopter” – Wikipedia

Photos: Devotees pray beneath the monolithic statue of the Jain sage Gomateswara during preparations for the Mahamastak Abhisheka ceremony February 7, 2006 in Shravanabelagola, India. The Mahamastak Abhisheka ceremony is held just once every twelve years where the statue will be bathed with milk, yogurt, saffron, gold coins and other religious items. The statue is said to be the world's largest monolith. The ceremony officially runs February 8-19. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

21 Jun 2011 12:27:00