India is a land that has seen the emergence of many religions such as Hinduism. Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism etc. All these religions have contributed to the world and its heritage in their own unique ways and one of those is art. The arts of the most astonishing era are no less astonishing in themselves. It is hard to imagine how the artists managed to create something as astounding as these masterpieces in the era when there was hardly any technology.
Gomateshwara Statue – World’s Largest Monolithic Statue
One of those astounding art pieces are present in the city named as Shravanbelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka. Here stands the world’s largest statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali who is known as the first teerthankar of the Jain religion.
This statue is 58 feet tall and is carved out of single stone giving rise to the larges monolithic statue of the world. The base of the statue has some inscriptions that are from the tenth century AD. It was due to the efforts of Chavundraya and his king that this statue could be erected.
A festival named as Mahamastakabhisheka is held after every twelve years when the statue is bathed from the top of the head with milk, saffron, turmeric, vermilion and other such offerings that are brought in 1,008 vessels especially made for this occasion.
It is said that BahuBali was born in the family of Ikshvaku in Ayodhya. There were all in all 100 brothers and the eldest was known as Bharat. Being the eldest Bahubali became the king of the major portion of the kingdom. Bahubali was given the city of Bodanapur which is now known as Telangana.
Bharat performed digvijay and after that when he was returning to Ayodhya the chakra ratna refused to enter the city because unless Bharat defeated his 99 brothers he could not be called the chakravartin. His 98 brothers after submitting their kingdoms to Bharat became ascetics but Bahubali did not surrender and decided t fight with his brother. But since they were brothers bloodshed was not allowed and the fought by four other means in which bahubali defeated Bharat. But after the fight Bahubali made his son Somakriti the king and he himself went to become a Digambara Monk.
Digambara means a person who wears clothes made of elements that form all the four quarters of earth. He shunned even his clothes and meditated in one position for one whole year. During this time the climbers grew around and over him. It is in this position that the statue of Bahubali stands. During this meditation Bahubali attained Kevala Gyan.
He was perturbed by the thoughts that he was standing on the land of his brother all the time but after attaining the universal knowledge his mind was full of calmness. Also his brother came to him and worshipped him even though Bharat was the elder brother and this eliminated all the disturbing elements from his mind.
This is not the only monolithic statue of Bahubali but surely it is the largest one. The other statues are in Karkala, Dharmasthala, Venur and Mysore.
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