Venur, the pilgrimage centre 60 km away from Mangalore, is gearing up for the ”Mahamastakabhisheka” for 35-foot tall Lord Bahubali idol that will begin on Saturday evening. The event, held once in 13 years, will go on till February 5.
According to V. Dhananjaya Kumar, Special Representative of the Karnataka Government in Delhi and working president of the Mahamastakabhisheka, the event would be held under floodlights between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. every day keeping in mind the climatic conditions of the area.
Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda would be participating in the ceremonies on Saturday.
The Mahamastakabhisheka organisers had set up stairs for devotees to reach the top of the idol and perform the rituals. On the first five days, the abhisheka would be performed using milk, sandalwood paste, and other material stocked in 108 kalashas. Around 450 litres of milk and 5 kg of sandalwood paste would be used in the first five days. This quantity would increase as more kalashas would be used for the abhisheka as the event progresses, Mr. Kumar said.
The abhisheka would be performed by families, including Ajila Princely family and Heggade from Dharmastala, on the first eight days of the event. Each family would bear the expenses of the ceremonies performed on the day. People could perform abhisheka on the last day of the event when material stored in 1,008 kalashas would be used. Around four lakh people would participate in the event. Arrangements had been made to provide food to devotees on all nine days, Mr. Kumar said.
Apart from Mr. Gowda, leaders, including Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, Union Ministers Veerappa Moily and K.H. Muniyappa, would take part in the programme.
Mr. Kumar said Governor H.R. Bhardwaj had been invited for the nine-day event. “We are yet to receive confirmation about his participation,” Mr. Kumar said.
The State Government had sanctioned Rs. 2 crore for the event. Some portion of this amount had been used for development activities, including asphalting of road and repair of compound wall. To commemorate this historic event, organisers had prepared a plan to provide drinking water for 12 villages surrounding Venur at an estimated cost of Rs. 25 crore. The water for these villages could be pumped from the Phalguni river, Mr. Kumar said.