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       Mahamasthakabhisheka 2006 celebrations at  Shravanabelagoa    
                     Bahubali at Shravanbelagola           Bahubali

Shravanabelagola, Feb. 8 (PTI):; First Mahamastakabhisheka of the millennium
It was a montage of traditional rituals, spiritual ecstasy and visual splendor at the Jain pilgrimage centre of Shravanabelagola as the millennium's first Mahamastakabhisheka (head anointing) ceremony of Lord Bahubali got off to a grand start here today. The ceremony held once in 12 years in reverence of Lord Bahubali, the victorious king who renounced his throne in favour of spiritual pursuit, began this morning with the designated priests carrying the holy water from the Digambara Jain mutt to the Vindyagiri hills, the venue of the event. 
The anointing ceremony began at 10.35 a.m. with abhisheka and offerings of water and tender coconut. Chanting hymns, Shravanabelagola's presiding pontiff Charukeerthi Bhattaraka filled a huge pot with rice and a silver coconut, signalling the commencement of the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony or the consecratory bath of the world's tallest monolith, measuring 57 feet high. 
   Copper vessels adorned with leaves and coconuts were arranged in a geometrical order along with statues of the Jain teacher Adinath and his sons Bharata and Bahubali as part of the ceremony organised to commemorate Bahubali's sacrifice. At the auspicious minute, Acharya Vardhamana Sagar along with the pontiff hoisted the first pot onto the shoulders of Ashok Patni, a devotee from Rajasthan. 
  Tens of thousands of devotees who had thronged the place were treated to a visual spectacle with the sunrays changing the statue's hues from stone gray, white, yellow, saffron to beige. Devotees cutting across religious beliefs, who witnessed the event, chanting "Bhagavan Bahubali Gomateshwara ki Jai"  felt blessed at the feet of Lord Bahubali, whose message of peace and non-violence holds good even today. 



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