Gommateshwar is 58 feet tall monolithic statue standing tall on the hill overlooking the small town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka state. This statue is dedicated to the Jain god Bahubali- One with strong arms. It is one of the largest free-standing statues in the world.
The construction of this statue was commissioned by the Ganga dynasty minister and commander Chavundaraya in 983 CE. The statue is dedicated to the prolonged mediation of Bahubali, a motionless contemplation in Kayotsarga (standing still) posture which led to the growth of vines climbing around his legs. The grandeur of this image is serene-looking and peace inspiring.
The founder of Maurya Empire, Emperor Chandragupta Maurya is believed to have died in Shravanabelagola in 298 BCE after becoming a Jain monk. The adjacent hill to Gomateshvara, Chandragiri is named after the emperor. There are five statues of Gommateshwara in Karnataka state built in different period. The oldest is the Bahubali of Sharava.
The main attraction to this Jain pilgrimage centre is the Mahamastabhisheka that takes place every 12 years. The anointing of Bahubali with water, milk, sugar cane juice and saffron paste, it is later on sprinkled with turmeric and vermilion powder. It is a spectacular sight to witness as the mixer of abhisheka flows through the arms of lord Gommateshwar.
India Post has issued a commemorative stamp depicting Gommateshwara in 1981 to celebrate the heritage of India.
In February 2018, the Mahamastabhisheka of Gommateshwar is taking place. Try not to miss this great event.