Bawangaja (meaning 52 yards) is a famous Jain pilgrim center in the Barwani district of southwestern Madhya Pradesh in India. Located about 6 kilometers south of River Narmada, its main attraction is the world’s second largest megalithic statue (carved out of the mountain) of Lord Rishabhadeva (largest being the Statue of Ahimsa), the first Jain Tirthankara. The statue is 84 feet (26 m) high. The center is located in the Satpura Range and is about 8 km from a Barwani town.
The 84 ft (26 m) tall megalithic statue (carved out of a single rock) of Lord Rishabhadeva (the first Tirthankara and founder of Jainism) is situated at a height of 1,219.4 m (4,001 ft), in the middle of the Satpura range. It was created early in the 12th century. The statue is supported from the back unlike the Gommateshwara statue of Lord Bahubali at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka. Along with the statue, the area has a complex of eleven temples.
The idol stands on the base of the mountain just like the Gommateshwara statue of Lord Bahubali at Shravanabelagola. In 2020, the Mahamastakabhisheka statue will be organized with an estimate of 1.5 million devotees. The repairs of the idol were carried out by Bhattaraka as per the inscription dated back to 1503 CE. The idol was again repaired in 1989/90, followed by a consecrating ceremony organized in January 1991.
The idol of Lord Rishabhadeva is made in brown stone in Kayotsarga posture. The hands of the idol are not joined with the legs. The structural art & style of this idol is unique and it is in perfect proportion. The various parts of the idol are quite symmetrical. There is a balanced image of all emotions like joy, mercy & separation on the face of this idol. To the left of the huge idol of Bawangaja Lord Rishabhadeva is the 4 armed Gomukha. To the right is the very artistic idol of 16 armed Chakreshvari.