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Mahamastakabhisheka 2018: ASI decks up Shravanabelagola; E books,QR codes and other works

Shravanabelagola: With this ancient Jain pilgrimage centre in Karnataka decking itself up for the mega event of the year 2018- Mahamastakabhisheka, the town is now all set for a transformation of sorts. As a whiff of fresh air, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to take the facilities provided by the ASI to this hallowed town to the next level.

Superintending archaeologist of Bengaluru and Hampi circles Moortheshwari in a meeting with Charukirithi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Jain Mutt at Shrvanabelagola outlined the plans the ASI has rolled out for the Mahamastakabhisheka 2018. She said the special Jain calendar will be published by the ASI which will have unique features and almanack with an eye for archaeological facts about Shrvanabelagola.

The ASI has noted that a large number of people who will attend the festivities during the month-long Mahamastakabhisheka will have a need for many information about Shravanabelagola. “Keeping this in view the ASI will share exclusive information on the history and archaeological facets of Shravanabelagola, this will be available for the visitors at the upgraded interpretation centre adjacent to the main gateway to the Vindyagiri hillock on which the 57 feet monolithic statue of Bahubali has been standing since 981 AD”.

As a special gesture, the ASI will introduce a special QR code that will give access to many other information that are mentioned in book forms from ASI as well as many other organisations that are connected with the Shravanabelagola town and the temples. “The foreigners who visit the shrine may not be able to go through the entire town visiting the ASI sites as many as 58, the QR code downloaded onto the mobile will give them access to books that will have information on the ASI sites, they can browse the books at their convenience and time. This way the knowledge will spread far and wide”, Moorthishwari told.

She also appraised the Swamiji of the many other works the ASI has taken up including the protection of inscription and monographs, additional staircase to the hillock, restoration of the Vadagal Basadi and restoration of the other small shrines around Shravanabelagola town.

The Swamiji in his suggestions has advised the ASI to give resting places for the pilgrims going atop the hills with drinking water facility. He also appreciated the ASI’s work on setting up bio and E-toilets in the Kshetra and a release of special postal cover on Mahamastakabhisheka.

Later the Swamiji Charukirti Bhattaraka said that Munis, Mathas and other monks and religious persons have already started arriving in Shravanabelagola.

Foreigners find Shravanabelagola enchanting. They come without much ado, see everything, admire it and leave without making a sound. This is how the foreigner travellers conduct themselves in the holy town. Linda and Rhonda a mother-daughter pair who came from Bordeaux in France expressed enchantment over Shravanabelagola. “Though we came from the land of wine, after coming here we found that the materialistic society we live is so shallow when we understand the deep-rooted philosophy of Shravanabelagola”.

Steve and his wife Brenda from Belgium loved the Shravanabelagola town for its simplicity, tranquillity and the great heritage. “Until we visited Shrvanabelagola we did not know that Jainism was the oldest religion in the world with such values of life. The story of Bahubali and Bharata Chakravarty is a story of great sacrifice, compassion and peace”, they said with a charming smile, though they were panting after climbing over 600 steps to the top of the hill in the mid-morning sun.

With the devotee flow increasing day by day the district administration and the Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt Mahamastakabhisheka organising committee has stepped up the facilities in the Kshetra.

  • Battery operated buggies for facilitating the movement of the pilgrims to various places have been initiated. Swamiji Swastisri Charukirthi Bhattaraka himself took the first ride and expressed satisfaction over the safety aspect.
  • In another facility, a Bengaluru based Motorcycle hiring company has begun hiring out two-wheelers for the movement of the pilgrims. However, this facility will be limited to the period till the last two days before the beginning of Mahamastakabhisheka rituals, after which the town will be shut for movement of all vehicular traffic.
  • Swamiji has also elicited keen interest in providing safe drinking water for the pilgrims visiting the town during the Mahamastakabhisheka event. Moodbidri based water treatment plant manufacturers SKF with the brand name Elixir have set up water purification machines enabled with Reverse Osmosis in the town.
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