The colossal rock cut statue of saint Gommata at Shravanabelagola is the most magnificent among all Jaina works of art. It was built in circa 982 AD and is described as one of the mightiest achievements of ancient Karnataka in the realm of sculptural art.
Also referred to as Lord Bahubali, the image is nude an stands upright in the posture of meditation known as kayotsarga, reaching a height of 17.38 meter (58 ft) atop the Vindyagiri of Doddabetta hills accessible through a flight of 500 steps.
The image of Gommata has curly hair in ringlets and long, large ears. His eyes are open as if viewing the world with detachment. His facial features are perfectly chiseled with a faint touch of a smile at the corner of his lips and embody calm vitality.
His shoulders are broad, his arms stretch straight down and the figure has no support from the thigh upwards There is an anthill in the background which signifies his incessant penance.
From this anthill emerge a snake and a creeper which twine around both his legs and his arms culminating as a cluster of flowers and berries at the upper portion of the arms. The entire figure stands on an open lotus signifying the totality attained in installing this unique statue.
The Mahamasthakabhisheka of Lord Bahubali at Karkala will be held during January 21-31, 2015 under the auspices of the Sri Bahubali Swamy Mahamasthakabhisheka Samithi. The towering 41.5 ft. granite monolith of Bahubali - also known as Gommateshwara - is built on an elevated platform on top of a rocky hill, known locally as Gommata Betta.
Gommateshwara is also known as Gommata, Gomata and Gomateshwara. The colossus was consecrated on 13 February 1432 A.D. by Veera Pandya Bhairarasa Wodeyar, scion of the Bhairarasa Dynasty, feudatory of the Vijayanagar Rulers.
The colossal monolithic statue of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola is 158 km away from Bangalore. This gigantic statue of Bahubali, who is considered a Siddha (one who has attained salvation), is carved out of a single block of granite and stands majestically on top of a hill.
For centuries, Shravanabelagola has remained a great pilgrimage center and thousands of pilgrims flock to see the magnificent, gigantic statue. The saint is shown completely nude, in the Jain custom.
It is 17 m. (55 ft) high and is visible from a distance of 30 km.This statue is regarded as one of the largest monolithic statues in the world.
It was created around 983 AD by Chavundaraya, a minister of the Ganga King,Rachamalla (Raachmalla SathyaVaak IV 975-986 AD). Neighboring areas have Jaina bastis and several images of the Tirthankaras.
One can have a beautiful view of the surrounding areas from the top of the hill. At Shravanabelagola, the Mahamastakabhisheka festival is held once in 12 years, when the image of Gommateshvara is bathed in milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins. This statue is now proposed as World Heritage Site by the Government of India.