Close-up of the five and a half metre high Bahubali at Gommatagiri. Hewn from black granite, the statue (right) stands on a solitary hillock about twenty-five kilometres north-west of Mysore city on the road to Hunsur.
The inhabitants of the sparsely populated area call the colossus ‘Shramana Gudda’. For an unknown of time it was inaccessible because of a split in the rock and the dense growth of vegetation.
It received public attention from 1950 onwards when, thanks to the Gommatagiri Tirtha- kshetra Committee in Mysore, the thick growth was cleared and the cleft in the rock breached. Since then this little-known and in some ways unique Bahubali statue is freely accessible by way of ascending a steep flight of steps cut into the rock.
Once a year, in September/Oktober, the annual head-anointing ceremony (mastakabhisheka) is attended by hun- dreds of devotees.