For the first time in decades, a woman is heading the Mahamastakabhisheka — the mega anointment event of the Jains that began on Wednesday in Karnataka's Shravanabelegola. She is Sarita Jain.
The last and 87th Mahamastakabhisheka event was last held in 2006.
Here's all you need to know about Sarita Jain:
- The 70-year-old Jain is the first woman from the community to head the Mahamastakabisheka Mahotsav in the last thousand years.
- Sarita, who is a grandmother of four, has been working tirelessly for the past two years towards making this Jain congregation, which sees to a footfall of thousands of devotees, a grand success.
- Sarita feels she is indeed lucky to head the incident. "I consider myself very lucky. We are working hard for the Mahamastakabisheka, the head anointing ceremony performed once in 12 years to the monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali," she told TOI.
- Sarita, who has been the president of the Bharatvarsheeya Digamber Jain Teerthkshetra Committee since 2016, has been preparing for the event under the guidance of renowned Jain monk Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji.
- Sarita said apart from taking care of the traditions that will be followed in the event, she and her team will also make use of new facilities and technology. From a ring-and-lock system that has been used for the scaffolding of the 58.8 feet tall Bahubali Gommateshwara Statue, Sarita and the others have also got elevators installed, besides bike rental platforms, temporary townships with scientific waste disposal systems and chopper-ride facilities.
- Sarita also said the community supports her even though she is a woman. "There was no bias or discrimination at any point. No one was unhappy with me and the men have worked with me to make it a grand affair. It has been a great learning experience for me too," she said.
The devotes pour milk, turmeric, vermilion sandalwood powder, saffron and sugarcane juice on the statue as part of the anointment.