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Venoor dolled up for Jain fest

    Venoor (Belathangady Taluk, Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka), January 27, 2012: Venoor, a pastoral village on the banks of the Phalguni river in South Kanara district, is in an alacritous mood on the eve of Mahamastakabhisheka — a Jain festival held once in every 12 years in veneration of an immense 18-metre statue of Bahubali (or Gomateshwara). The nine-day festival will kick off on January 28 at 6 pm with over a lakh Jain pilgrims expected to arrive from Madhya Pradesh, Maharasthra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Karnataka.

    Venoor, 60 km from Mangalore, features among the top four Jain pilgrimage centres in South India — the others are Shravanabelagola, Karkala, and Moodbidri.

    Consecrated in 1604, the monolithic Bahubali statue stands 35 feet from the peetha. It is the only Bahubali statue that has a smiling visage.

    The Mahamastakabisheka ceased in 1956. It was revived in 2000 after Charukirti Bhattaraka Swamiji took charge of the Moodbidri Jain Mutt.

    A four-storey attanige (scaffolding) has been erected for the event.

    This steel structure can hold 500 persons who can go to the statue’s head and take part in the Mahamastakabhisheka.

    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. “Bahubali undergoing mahamajjana (great bath) with chandana (sandalwood paste), sugarcane juice, honey and milk is a real spectacle. Around 1,008 kalashas have been allotted to devotees from various places,” said Padmaprasada Ajila, a descendent of the Thimappa.

    Ajila lineage of rulers of Venoor
    The event’s organising secretary V Dhananjaya Kumar said during the first five days, the families of the organising committee, including Padmaprasad Ajila, chief of the Dharmasthala Sri Kshetra D Veerendra Heggade and a few elders, will offer abhisheka.

    From the seventh day, Jains from any region can offer abhisheka from kalashas.

    Chief minister DV Sadananada Gowda will inaugurate the Mahamastakabisheka, while former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is also likely to attend the event.

    Kumar said Yeddyurappa, during his tenure as chief minister, allocated `2 crore for the festival.

    Union minister of corporate affairs M Veerappa Moily, who hails from the neighbouring town of Karkala, will also attend the inaugural programme.

    In addition, three elder jain munis—Pavana Kirthisagara and his disciples, Sudheshsagar Muni, Gunadharananda Maharaj—14 bhattarakas, nine ariga mathas and several Jain leaders will arrive for the event.

    The town is all set to receive visitors and arrangements for food and visitors’ stay have been made in Karkala, Moodbidri, Ujire, Dharmasthala, Mangalore and Udupi.

    Roads leading to Venoor from Guruvainakere, Karkala, Moodbidri and Buntwal have been asphalted.

    KSRTC and private operators are expected to run more buses to Venoor. – News Courtesy: DNA India

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