Gommateshwara, The Omniscient Oneby
The Gommateshwara statue represents Bahubali, a much revered figure in the Jain religion. He is said to have meditated motionless for a year in a standing posture (kayotsarga) and that during this time, climbing plants grew around his legs. After his one year of meditation, Bahubali is said to have attained omniscience (Kevala Gyana). The nude image of Gommateshwara has curly hair ringlets and large ears. The eyes are open as if he is viewing the world with detachment. His facial features are perfectly chiseled with a faint touch of a smile at the corner of the lips that embodies a calm inner peace and vitality. His shoulders are broad, the arms stretch straight down and the figure has no support from the thigh upwards. The original Gommateshwara statue, built 981 C.E. is a 57-foot (17 m) high monolithic statue on Vindhyagiri Hill in the town of Shravanbelagola in the Indian state of Karnataka. It was built around 983 CE during the Western Ganga dynasty and is one of the largest free-standing statues in the world. Carved of a single block of granite, it is the tallest monolithic statue in India and is visible from 30 kilometres (19 mi) away. In 2007, the statue was voted the first of Seven Wonders of India in a Times of India poll.