Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

When we started our blog we were often suggested to write about Udupi and Mangalore or to be precise about our hometown Karkala. After spending our last few days here attending one of the historic events of the town, Mahamasthakabhisheka we decided to share our experience with you all. Staying away from home, not only it gave us an opportunity to spend time with our family but also helped to get reacquainted with our culture and root.

Located at the coastal part of Karnataka State, famously known as Tulunadu (Udupi and Dakshina Kannada) has history dating back to 3rd Century AD. Karkala is one such town that has been a major contributor to Tuluva culture. Perched on the foothills of Western Ghats this quaint little town has been centre for Jain devotees for many years.

Gommatabetta

Gommatabetta

One of the major attractions of the town is the 41.5 feet monolithic granite statue of Lord Bahubali located at the hilltop of Gommatabetta. The statue was consecrated in the year 1432 by King Veera Pandya of Bhairava dynasty. Every 12 years the Jain community celebrates the Mahamasthakabhisheka event, a sacred ritual performed since ancient times (the first Masthakabhisheka in Karkala was held in 1646). The Mastakabhisheka is a ceremony of worshipping Lord Bahubali for his sacrifice, and his principles of non-violence and peace.

Priest performing the Pada Abhisheka

Priest performing the Pada Abhisheka

Night view of Gommatabetta

Night view of Gommatabetta

Traditional Palkhi

Traditional Palkhi

Milk Abhisheka

Milk Abhisheka

Decoction/ Kashaya Abhisheka

Decoction/ Kashaya Abhisheka

Rice Powder/ Kalkachurna Abhisheka

Rice Powder/ Kalkachurna Abhisheka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Turmeric / Haldi Abhisheka

Turmeric / Haldi Abhisheka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

 

Lord BahubaliThe grand event was held this year from 21st of January to 30th January and we sisters were lucky to witness this celebration. During the ceremony, the statue of Lord Bahubali will be bathed in water and various other dravyas (liquids) like milk, coconut water, sugarcane juice, turmeric, sandalwood etc. Lakhs of people from all over India come to witness this grand event and participating in the anointing ceremony is considered as a way of cleansing your mind, body and soul by the Jains.

Sandalwood/ Srigandha Abhisheka

Sandalwood/ Srigandha Abhisheka

Lord Bahubali

Saffron/ Kesar Abhisheka

Saffron/ Kesar Abhishek

Red sandalwood Abhisheka

Red sandalwood Abhisheka

Astagandha (8 scented ingredients) Abhisheka

Astagandha (8 scented ingredients) Abhisheka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Pushpavrushti- shower of flower petals

Pushpavrushti- shower of flower petals

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Karkala MahamastakabhishekaThe statue is in its full glory while the various abhishekas are performed and is an absolute delight to watch as people sing and dance making you forget the outside world. Apart from the anointing ceremony of the statue, various cultural programs, exhibitions and fairs are also held. Although it’s a religious ceremony the entire town of Karkala gets together to celebrate this 10-day event.

Cultural performance

Cultural performance

Cultural performance

Cultural performance

Cultural exhibits in the procession

Cultural exhibits in the procession

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Flavours of Karnataka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Flavours of Karnataka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Flavours of Karnataka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Karkala Mahamastakabhisheka

Karkala MahamastakabhishekaVery close to the Gommabetta is another famous Jain temple, the Chaturmukha Basadi, which was built by another Bhairava King in 1586. The temple has four identical doors facing four directions, hence the name Chaturmukha and one of the doorways faces the statue of Lord Bahubali. The structure of the Basadi resembles a square mandap with 108 pillars in total all around the verandah and is flat roofed with huge granite slabs placed on top. The Basadi has about 6 feet large statues of 18th, 19th and 20th (Ara, Malli and Munisuvrath) Thirthankars alongside Goddess Padmavati. The Basadi is famous for its unique architectural design and is mentioned as “Ratnatraya Dhama” in ancient inscriptions.

Chaturmukha Basadi

Chaturmukha Basadi

The Granite slab on the roof

The Granite slab on the roof

Chaturmukha Basadi

Pillars in the veranda

Pillars in the veranda

One of the doorways

One of the doorways

Three thirtankars

Three thirtankars

Both the Basadi and the Gomateshwara statue are protected under The Archaeological Survey of India as excellent examples of ancient art and architecture.

The closest cities to Karkala are Udupi and Mangalore and closest airport is the Mangalore International Airport.

Apart from Karkala, Karnataka state has three other monolith statue of Lord Bahubali in Shravanabelagola (57 feet), Dharmasthala (39 feet) and Venur (35 feet).

Photo Courtesy : Nerenki Parshwanath, Ravivarma, Rathan Barady and Niranjan Jain.

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22 Comments

  1. Vipul MK Vipul MK
    May 9, 2015    

    Feels good to see a very nicely tailored discription of our hometown and culture!!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 9, 2015    

      Thank you Vipul!! Yes it is definitely a great pleasure to write about our hometown 🙂

  2. June 18, 2016    

    That is so so impressive, thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 19, 2016    

      Thank you!! 🙂

  3. June 18, 2016    

    WHOA! I am stunned by these pics. How did you take the pics? all angles suggest you are at a good height to capture all. Amazing festival too! I hope I can visit this place soon.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 19, 2016    

      Thank you Indrani.It is a must visit if are in Mangalore or Udupi. Do let us know if you are planning a trip. Maybe we can meetup :). The pictures are not captured by us but some of our friends who are masters in photography. As they are amazing, we decided to share them with everyone 🙂

  4. June 18, 2016    

    First thing first. The first picture is a killer!!

    Nicely done description of your hometown.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 19, 2016    

      Thank you Nisha 🙂

  5. June 20, 2016    

    Amazing pics.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 23, 2016    

      Thanks Rupam 🙂

  6. June 20, 2016    

    My in-laws have been telling me a lot abt Karkala and with your pictures, I now know where to head to next 😀

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 23, 2016    

      Oh thats lovely!! Hope you visit soon, we are sure you will like it 🙂

  7. June 21, 2016    

    Awesome captures…would love to visit one day 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 23, 2016    

      Thank you Shweta 🙂

  8. June 22, 2016    

    This is a true spectacle! You have been very lucky to witness this!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 23, 2016    

      Yes indeed!! We truely feel lucky to witness this event 🙂

  9. June 25, 2016    

    Your pictures gave an idea as to how grand the celebrations are!

  10. June 26, 2016    

    Wow! You got to see a mahamasthakabhisheka! That must have been quite an experience. And the way to the top looks much more steep than the one is Shravanabelagola.
    Btw, is that scaffolding a permanent structure? It sure looks like one.

    Awesome images, girls. 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 29, 2016    

      Thank you Dee 🙂 Naah the scaffolding is temperory, built just for the event.

  11. June 26, 2016    

    That’s massive….Awesome shots and detailed post. Thanks for sharing…!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      June 29, 2016    

      Your welcome Sunaina 🙂 Thanks for stopping by our blog!

  12. April 21, 2017    

    What a fabulous gallery! Takes me back to my childhood in Mangalore. We had close Jain friends who used to invite us to the mahamasthakabhisheka every year with a ringside view. I really need to return home as a tourist 🙂 Do you live in Karkala?

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