Hassan (Karnataka), June 22, 2017: It’s less than nine months to one of the most anticipated events – one that takes place once every 12 years – in Karnataka, and the murmurs, and bustle of activity at Shravanabelagola in Hassan district, 120km from Bengaluru, are hard to escape as it prepares for the Mahamastakabhisheka. While priests, devotees and Jain monks are immersing themselves in preparations for the event scheduled for February next year, Karnataka police too are busy seeking out innovative methods to ensure maximum security for the event, which is expected to draw 50,000 visitors per day.
Police will be employing drones and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to keep a vigil on the crowd during the 20-day event, which commences on February 7. “Senior officials have already placed orders for 150 CCTV cameras, 20 drones, more than 100 metal doors and hand detectors,” said sources in the police department.
In order to accommodate the surge of people, there are plans to construct as many as 15 temporary towns at Shravanabelagola during the Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations. “Our security arrangements are such that anyone entering Shravanabelagola will have to pass through three levels of security,” said a senior police officer.
He added, “Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs will be at the venue much before the celebrations begin.” Allaying fears of there being any threat to the Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations, he, however, added, “But the ritual could be targeted by anti-social elements.”
Platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and District Armed Reserve (DAR) will be deployed throughout the length of the ceremony, the senior cop said. “The greatest challenge is to control the crowd atop the hill, where nearly 7,000 people will converge at a time. We’ll probably have 200 armed personnel on the hill during the celebrations, and home guards will be deployed all across Shravanabelagola,” he said.
Mahamastakabhisheka, which translates to grand consecration, is an important Jain ceremony that takes once in 12 years. The 57-foot high monolithic statue of Siddha Bahubali, better known as Gommateshwara, is bathed with holy water, and anointed with libations such as milk, turmeric paste, et al. Holy water is poured on the monolithic statue from 1,008 consecrated vessels, called “Kalashas”. – News Courtesy: Times of India