Arrangements for the 20-day Mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola scheduled to start from February 7, would be completed by the month end, officials said.
The ceremonies of anointing the 57-foot monolithic statue of Bahubali, atop Vindhyagiri hill, will culminate on February 26.
The work on the platform using German technology to facilitate the seers and munis to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka, the 12 satellite towns to accommodate devotees and laying and repair of roads are in the final stages.
Seer Charukeerthi Bhataraka Swami said the Panchakalyana ceremonies will start on February 7. "The abhisheka (anointment) atop the hill will begin on February 17. At least 35 lakh devotees are expected to take part in the event over 20 days," he said.
District in-charge Minister A Manju said Rs 175 crore, released by the state government, has been used to provide facilities to the devotees, while Rs 89 crore is spent on roads. "To help devotees, 200 additional buses and 23 trains will ply from various places. Three lifts will be provided to the platform around the statue. Arrangements have been made to provide drinking water to eight lakh people. As lakhs of people are expected to descend from across the globe, 400 doctors will be deputed for 20 days," he said.
"During the last Mahamastakabhisheka in 2006, the Union government had released Rs 90 crore. The the state government had released Rs 30 crore. However, this time, the Centre has not responded though the state has written to it three times seeking funds. But the Centre has earned
Rs 18 crore by way of GST on the expenses being made for the arrangements for the Mahamastakabhisheka," he said.
"The state government has earmarked Rs 20 crore for the construction of a Prakrit University on 35 acres of land and the tender process is under way. According to UGC norms, facilities like hostels and libraries will be provided," he said.
The seer expressed satisfaction over the arrangements. "Already, 175 munis have arrived at Shravanabelagola by foot and 100 more are expected. From February 17, abhisheka of 108 kalashas will begin and from February 18 to 25, abhisheka from 1,008 kalashas will be held. Last year, with the money earned by auctioning the kalashas, the Bahubali Hospital is being constructed. This time, the funds will be used for education and health services," he said.
Mahotsava special officer
B N Varaprasad Reddy said the rituals and ceremonies from Vindhyagiri will be broadcast live on TV and also on the web. "Devotees will be ferried from the satellite towns to the hill by 60 shuttle buses," he added.