A unique art festival in Shravanabelagola, India showcases history and heritage going back a thousand years!
Shravanabelagola is one of the most prominent Jain pilgrimage centers located 145 kilometers from Bangalore. The small town of less than five thousand people is well known for the world’s tallest, 57-foot-high monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali. The area is steeped in history that goes back over one thousand years and rich in art and architecture. Every twelve years, the statue of Lord Bahubali is anointed with holy water in a ceremony that’s called the Mahamastakabhisheka. The next Mahamastakabhisheka is between February 17 and 26 this year and is expected to attract over 4 million visitors from India and across the world!
I grew up hearing stories of Bahubali and his younger brother Bharat, and about how the statue in Shravanabelagola came about. As a kid, I had traveled to Shravanabelagola once with my family and was marveled by the majesty of the statue and how spiritually uplifting this small town was. I live in Hong Kong now, but over time life took me to New York and Boston. As luck would have it, I got an opportunity to come back to Bangalore for a few years which revived that connection with Shravanabelagola. So when my mother, who is an accomplished artist herself, shared her idea to organize an art festival to commemorate the Mahamastakabhisheka, my brother and I seized the opportunity immediately. We knew we could create something truly unique that combined our passion for the arts with our spiritual connection with Shravanabelagola. We immediately took that idea and with the support of many generous sponsors, are working to translate that vision into reality.
The art festival is a collaboration between many established and upcoming artists across all genres, art galleries and patrons from India and the world. Over 50 artists participated in the camp between January 25 – 28. Between February 17 – 26, there will be an exhibition of more than 75 works of art during the Mahamastakabhisheka. The festival will be followed by a roadshow across major art galleries in India to further promote the still untold story of Shravanabelagola.
With the Mahamastakabhisheka coming up, this is a truly unique opportunity to tell the story of Shravanabelagola! Our goal is to support the art community in India and support the Shravanabelagola Mutth in their charitable pursuits in the region. You can help spread the word, contribute to the cause or pre-book a painting for yourself!
Parimal Pandya is an art, technology and travel enthusiast who also happens to be an executive at Akamai Technologies, a cloud delivery platform based out of Hong Kong, where he has worked since 2003. Parimal has lived in Hong Kong, Bangalore, Boston and New York over the course of the last 20 years. He has started companies and completed stints in venture capital, and received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University in New York.