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Keeping a check on spirituality

Thousands of devotees and tourists flock to Omkar Hills to see the world's second largest clock and also an ashram on the premises.


A COOL breeze touches you softly as you reach Omkar Hills to see the world's second biggest clock tower, the first being the Allen Bradley's clock in Michigan, USA. Situated in the south of Bangalore, Omkar Hills is both a tourist spot and a multi-religious forum amid enthralling forest environs. Mounted on a four-column arch with wonderful architecture, it is a tourist spot. At each hour, the clock, made by HMT, makes a unique loud sound of conch followed by the "Omkar" sound five times and rings the bell that many times, matching the hour it indicates. Omkar Hills, is a multi-religious forum, since the place has the Sarvadharma Samanvaya Mantapa, an all-religion pavilion built under a 600-year-old banyan tree. People of all faiths come here everyday, says Sri Shivapuri Mahaswamiji, founder seer of the Omkar Hills monastery. This pavilion, under the banyan tree, is situated on a highest elevated hillock from where most parts of Bangalore are visible. Canopied lamp towers lead the way to the top of the pavilion. Amid these lamp towers, statues of Ganesha and saint Muneshwara are installed. The multi-religious pavilion serves as a silent zone for peace lovers who come here for meditation.

A dwadasha jyothirlinga temple is also being constructed here. It is said to be the first of its kind temple in south India for Lord Shiva. This Rs. three-crore project will be completed in the next two years. A giant sized Sanskrit word "Om" is to come atop this 12 Linga temple, measuring 120 ft. in height and 135 ft. in width. An orphanage, a huge meditation hall, a school to teach vedas and aagamas are also to come up in the ashrama complex. At present 20 students are learning vedas in the ashram.


According to the seer, the clock tower is said to be bigger than the Big Ben, the clock tower in London, and its making took two years. Big Ben is 22 ft. in diameter but the clock on Omkar Hills is 24 ft. in diameter. Its dial is beautiful with a bluish flower design. Each numeral on the clock is two and a half-ft. high. Hour and minute hands weigh 40 kg. each. The clock is built to look as if two divine winged beings are holding it. The cost of the clock tower is Rs. 30 lakh. The clock runs on electricity, but can run on battery when there is no power. The height of the clock tower is 75 ft.. It can be seen and its hourly sound can be heard within a radius of three km..

The banyan tree atop the hillock, appears like an umbrella. "It was the tree that attracted me to make this place an abode. Those days, it was just a barren land with thorny plants. People were scared of coming close to the banyan tree thinking that ghosts lived in it," the mahaswamiji said.

Omkar Hills can be contacted on 8602586.

Y. RAMA MOHAN

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