SHRAVANBELAGOLA, India – Thousands of Jain devotees gathered in a town in southern India on Monday as part of a festival that involved dousing a huge statue of Lord Bahubali in various colored powders.
The Bahubali Mahamasthakabhishek festival dates back to the 10th century and only takes place every 12 years.
During the festival, a 17-meter-high statue of Lord Bahubali is covered in various powders and liquids, including saffron, milk, turmeric, flour, flower petals and other items of religious significance.
Images captured by an epa photojournalist showed devotees gathering at the feet of the statue in the town of Shravanbelagola, chanting songs as the head of the statue was anointed from above.
The festival, which runs from Feb. 7-25, celebrates Bahubali, the renowned saint of Jainism; a religion founded by a contemporary of Buddha known as Mahavira around the fifth century BCE.