Hassan: Towering at 58.8 feet over surrounding villages, the statue of Bahubali on the Vindyagiri Hills in the Jain pilgrimage centre of Shravanabelagola, will have devotees pouring milk and other offerings on its head at the Mahamasthabisheka ceremony scheduled for next month.
But a row has broken out between the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over the former's proposal to install lifts to carry the devotees 60 ft high to reach Bahubali's head and perform the holy ceremony. While the scaffolding is a couple of feet taller than the statue to help devotees pour milk, holy water, sandal paste and turmeric, among other things over it during the head anointing ceremony, PWD officials have sought permission to install three lifts behind Bahubali to carry them to the top. “The lifts will travel vertically , making it easier for men and material to be ferried to the top without causing any harm to the statue,” says a PWD official, adding, “How will the old and infirm reach such a height otherwise? Besides, it will be easier to carry the offerings this way.”
He also contends that the lifts will not cause any vibrations to threaten the safety of the gigantic statue, said to be the tallest of its kind in the world. However, the idea has not gone down well with ASI officials, who are afraid the drilling involved and movement of lifts could threaten the monolithic statue.
A team of ASI officials will visit Shravanabelagola and inspect the spot and decide on whether or not to allow the installation of the lifts....