Vindhyagiri Hill steps being chiseled ahead of Mahamastakabhisheka

400 new steps being built; height of stairs to be reduced

 With exactly a year left for the Bahubali Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsava 2018, various development works were launched here on Thursday.

Charukeertha Bhattaraka Swami of Jain Mutt, Shravanabelagola, launched the works for the third line of steps at Vindhyagiri Hill, being developed by the Archeological Survey of India, by using a diamond-studded gold chisel and a silver hammer (which were said to be used to carve the statue of Bahubali). Works for various development works were also launched on the occasion.

Bhattaraka Swami told reporters that there are around 700 Jain munis in the country are expected to visit Shravanabelagola during Mahamastakabhisheka. “The number of tourists visiting Shravanabelagola is also on the rise every year. As permission was not granted for the ropeway and carrying devotees on ‘doli’ is difficult, additional steps are being constructed for the benefit of tourists. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had sanctioned Rs 575 crore and Rs 5 crore has already been released. However, there is no information about Central funds,” the seer said.

Three lakh devotees

Approximately three lakh devotees are expected everyday during the mahotsava and temporary arrangements are being made to accommodate 25,000 people on the premises. The Bahubali Children’s Hospital, constructed in memory of the 2006 Mahamastakabhisheka, is being upgraded into a 200-bed hospital at a cost of Rs 50 crore. Funds are being mobilised by the people of the community, he said.

T Arun Raj, Superintendent of Archaeology Survey of India, said that 400 new steps are being constructed to Vindhyagiri at a cost of Rs 42 lakh. The height of the existing steps will be reduced for the convenience of people. Tiles would be laid around Bahubali’s statue, toilets would be constructed, drinking water facilities will be provided, compound will be built and solar lights will be installed. All the works would be completed by January 2018, he said.

Mahamastakabhisheka national committee president Saritha Mahendrakumar Jain, ASI officials Ranganath, Mohan Das and Nagaraj were present.

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