Facade of Shravanabelagola Mahamasthakabhishekha which is being held in Karnataka from 17th to 25th February is attracting the attention of large number of visitors. Facade has been designed by Madhu Chandrika, Bengaluru-based art designer who has several prestigious projects to her credit. An alumna of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Chandrika runs a design company called Earthen Symphony. Scaffolding and floral decoration around the Lord have been designed keeping in mind religious sentiments of Jainism.
A German company, Layher Scaffolding Systems Pvt Ltd, was given the contract for construction of scaffolding for the 57-ft tall Gomateshwara statue at a cost of Rs. 11.25 crore. Unlike in the previous mahamastakabhisheka where traditional technique involving welding of iron rods was used to construct the scaffolding, this time ring-and-lock technology is employed for building scaffolding.
The scaffolding has been decorated with artwork celebrating Jainism representing ‘Ashtamangalas’ (eight auspicious symbols) and floral patterns. Though designing the facade was a tricky thing, sustaining the installation against the wind force was a major problem. Keeping this in mind, an aluminium (with a little bit of PVC) installation was preferred to other materials which was finished with automotive paint and lacquer. To withstand the wind force, part of the aluminium installation was perforated. Preparation of artwork took three weeks for completion while their installation took another five days.
The Mahamastakabhisheka (Grand Consecration) at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is an important Jain festival held once in every 12 years. It is an integral part of the ancient and composite Jain tradition. The festival is held in veneration of a 17.3736 metres (57.000 ft) high monolithic statue of the Siddha Bahubali. The ceremony in 2018 is the 88th in the series that commenced in the year 981 A.D.and second Mahamastakabhisheka of the 21st Century.