Interesting Facts About Gomateshwara Monolith: World’s Highest and Largest Monolithic Sculpture


Gomateshwara Monolith

Situated on top of Vindhyagiri hill at an altitude of 1020.16 meters, in the Temple Town of Shravanabelgola, is the giant monolithic statue dedicated to Jain deity Lord Gommateshwara, also known as Bahubali.
The 17.37 meters tall granite statue weighs about 80 tons and is accessed via a flight of more than 500 steps. The site offers a picturesque view of the plains as well as nearby hills.
This statue has historical importance. Important for historians, archaeologists as well as for linguists. The statue is evidence of spread of Jainism in south India, and the royal patronage to it. For archeologists, the statue is important because it is the greatest presentation of Indian sculpture.
The Lord Gomateshwara Monolith in Karnataka was constructed in the 10th century AD. Chamundaraya, the minister, and commander of the Ganga dynasty is credited to have this statue. The giant monolith was erected in the honor of Lord Bahubali.
The splendid Lord Gomateshwara Monolith is situated on top of a hill and is engraved out of a single block of granite. Shravanabelagola is one of the most well-known pilgrimage sites for the people of the Jain community and thousands of pilgrims come here to catch a glimpse of the monolith. The statue rises up to a great height and can be seen from a distance of 30 kilometers. It is known for the intricate carvings and beautiful sculptures.
The Lord Gomateshwara is one of the popular tourist attractions in Karnataka. The site is also surrounded by lovely hills and sprawling vegetation. From the top of the hill, one can have a stunning view of the city. One can also visit various Jain settlements near the site where there are some Jain temples and monuments dating back to the ancient period.
The Lord Gomateshwara Monolith is also accessible in a number of ways. The city of Bangalore is around 158 km from the site. Regular buses, cars, and taxis ply between Bangalore and Shravanabelagola.
Train services are also available Shravanabelagola and other parts of Karnataka and the surrounding states. There are also plenty of hotels where one can enjoy pleasant satisfaction and comfort at moderate rates.
Without further ado, let’s find out some interesting facts The Lord Gomateshwara Monolith:
1. In an SMS poll carried out by The Times of India newspaper, from 21 July to 31 July 2007, it was voted as the first of Seven Wonders of India on August 5, 2007. The statue is considered to be the tallest monolithic sculpture in the world.
2. Every 12th year, there is a big ceremony held at the site of the Temple Town of Shravanabelgola called Mahamastakabhishek. In that year, nearly two millions of people visit this place.
During the festival, the monolith is bathed in pure milk, ghee, and curd, saffron and gold coins. The milk and curd are stored in 1008 vessels which are specially prepared for the event.
Other elements like saffron paste, sugarcane juice, powders of sandalwood, turmeric, and vermilion are also used to bath the monolith. During the concluding day of the ceremony, flowers are showered over the statue from a helicopter.
3. For linguists also, the statue is important, as inscriptions in three different languages are written on the base stone near the feet of the statue. The three languages are Tamil, Kannada, and Marathi. The Marathi inscription is the oldest inscription in this language. All the three inscriptions are important for knowing the history and evolution of related languages.
4. The north facing stone sculpture of Lord Gommateshwara is depicted in the upright posture of meditation known as Kayotsarga that is practiced to attain salvation by practicing renunciation, self-restraint and complete dominance of ego.
The Digambar (nude) form is typical of Jain traditions and it symbolizes one’s victory over earthly attachments and desires that hamper their spiritual ascent towards divinity. The statue has ringlets of curly hair and large elongated ears.
His eyes are open to a face with perfectly chiseled features and are sporting a faint smile tugging at the corner of his lips. His face, smile, and posture embody a calm vitality, ascetic detachment. The statue depicts broad shoulders with arms stretched straight down.

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