It was the pilgrims' annual tryst with the Lord of Gommatagiri who came alive in its resplendent glory during the 61st Mastakabhisheka, at Gommatagiri on the outskirts of the city on Sunday.
A large number of Jain devotees witnessed the annual anointment to the statue of Gomateshwara, which is inspired by the celebrated Mahamastakabhisheka that takes place at Shravanabelagola every 12 years.
The 16-foot-tall statue of Gomateshwara, situated atop a hillock, shimmered in different colours during the Mastakabhisheka.
Shouts of ‘Bhagavan Bahubali ki jai' and ‘Gomateshwara ki jai' echoed from the hillock as pilgrims watched the grey granite statue go from white to red to a golden yellow within minutes. The statue was anointed in turmeric, kumkum, sandal, milk, honey, etc.
Reckoned to be the only place where the Mastakabhisheka is held every year, Gommatagiri is located in Bilikere hobli of Hunsur taluk, about 25 km from Mysore.
A famous pilgrimage site for the Jains, the statue commands great reverence and is reckoned to be architecturally sublime and devoid of excessive ornamentation. Art historians consider the statue to be at least 800 years old, and it also has the stamp of early Vijayanagar style.
While the origin of the statue is shrouded in mystery, it is clear that Jainism had established in the region and was popular in those days.
This is apparent from the celebrated worship spots in the region which are frequented by many devotees and tourists round the year.
Also, Shravanabelagola is hardly 100 km from this place while there are similar statues of Gomateshwara — though of lesser artistic value, as thought by many — in the nearby district of Mandya.