Bahubali (Kannada, ಬಾಹುಬಲಿ) (English: One with strong arms), a much revered figure among the Jains was the son of Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara of Jainism. is a 17-meter monolithic statue located atop a rock mountain called Indragiri, in the town of Shravanbelagola, in Hassan district (Karnataka state, India), 158 km from Bangalore.
The statue was built by order of the minister and commander Chamundaraya, belonging to the Ganga dynasty, in honor of the great master Bahubali. It dates back to the tenth century A.D. and its size is derived from that attributed to human beings by the Yainas and Hindus in ancient times.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, devotees and tourists from around the world flock to the statue once every twelve years for an event known as the Mahamastakabhisheka.
On August 5, 2007, Indians chose this statue as the first of the Seven Wonders of India, with 49% of the votes.
Gommateshwara Statue's Conception
The colossal monolithic statue of Gomateshwara or Bahubali is located in Shravanabelagola. This giant statue of Lord Bahubali, the Yaina saint, carved from a single block of granite, majestically dominates the mountain, the top of which is reached after climbing 614 steps carved into the rock. It shows the saint completely naked, according to Yaina custom. It is about 18 meters high and is visible from a distance of 30 km.
The statue is considered one of the largest monolithic statues in the world. It was built around 983 AD by Chavundaraya, a minister of King Ganga Rachamalla (Raachmalla SathyaVaak IV 975-986 AD). The adjoining areas have bastis yainas and several images of the tirthankaras.
During the Mahamastakabhisheka, the festival held every twelve years, the image of Gomateshwara is bathed in milk, curd, ghi (fried butter), saffron and gold coins. The event is usually attended by important personalities. In 2018, for example, Narendra Modi and Ramnath Kovind attended.