A leading business family from Ahmedabad bid a collective Rs 33.5 crore to carry out the last rites of Jayantsen Surishwarji Maharajsaheb, 81, spiritual mentor to lakhs of Jains, who passed on Monday.
This is a unique community ritual where bids are called for the right to perform the last rites of Jain monks. However, big money is only offered to perform last rites of those monks who have a huge following.
Other than lighting the pyre, bids were also called for rituals such as giving him the last bath, applying a paste of sandalwood and for covering the body with a woollen shawl. Each bid crores of rupees to do the honours.
Bids are not invited at every monk's passing. Many funerals are performed by local Jain associations. The practice of bidding or ghee bolo started 450 years ago.
According to Vimal Sagar Maharajsaheb, a Jain monk said that the practice of bidding emerged years ago when the devotees never used to contribute even a penny to the temple box. The idea of ghee bolo emerged in a bid to raise funds to build more Jain temples and spread the religion.