The Mahamasthakabhisheka (ceremonial anointment) of the statue is done once every 12 years, a Jain religious rite that dates back to ancient times. The ceremonial anointing will be done customarily from the top of a specially constructed scaffolding, when water from 1008 kalashas (pots) will be poured over the Gommata, as a purification rite. The abhisheka (ceremonial bathing) then begins to the heralding of bugles and the beat of drums. Milk from kalashas and large containers is poured on Gommateshwara, followed by clouds of white rice powder. Next, the statue is anointed with coconut water and sugarcane juice. Liquid turmeric and red sandalwood paste then cover the Gommata in hues of amber and mahogany. Next comes the libation of ashtagandha - a combination of eight scented substances - followed lastly by a shower of flower petals. The splendid ceremony ends with the washing of the Gommata with the clear waters of the poorna kumbhas and the arthi of lit lamps. This unique event draws thousands of pilgrims from all over the country as well as across the world, who are enriched by the cultural experience.
Jainism was introduced in Karnataka by Lord Mahaveera in the 6th Century B.C during the course of his travels, when he converted Jivandhara, the king of the Hemangada Country into Jainism. Foretelling a major famine, Monk Bhadrabahu, a leading figure of the Jain religion in the kingdom of Magadha in the 3rd century B.C, led a major migration to Karnataka with Emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya and attained samadhi in the area now known as Shravanabelagola. By the 10th Century, Jainism had become a powerful force in the coastal regions of Karnataka and centres were established all along. With the ascendance of Hinduism, the influence of Jainism waned in the country, though Karnataka still has active Jain pilgrimage centres.