Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the ‘New Anubhava Mantapa’ in Basavakalyan, the place where 12th century poet-philosopher Basaveshwara lived for most of his life. He promised completion of the ₹500-crore project within two years on a 7.5-acre area and said it would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While a project to highlight the teachings of Basaveshwara (an icon of Veerashaiva-Lingayat community) was first proposed back in 2016 when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister and a committee led by Go. Ru. Channabasappa was set up to draw a plan, the project getting a push now is politically loaded.
Basavakalyan, an important pilgrim centre for Lingayats, is bound for bypolls soon, following the death of its MLA B. Narayan Rao from the Congress. In fact, the government’s controversial decision to set up the Maratha Development Corporation was also in the backdrop of the bypolls, given the strong presence of the Maratha community here. The New Anubhava Mantapa project is also expected to bolster Mr. Yediyurappa’s image as an undisputed Lingayat strongman, especially when leadership issue has emerged prominently within the BJP and there is one-upmanship to claim the community’s support.
Interestingly, while the government has not released the approved funds of close to ₹2,000 crore for the Kalyana Karnataka Region Development Board (KKRDB), the Chief Minister had said there would be no dearth of funds for the ₹500 crore New Anubhava Mantapa project. He also announced ₹50 crore for the Maratha Development Corporation with alacrity.
The New Anubhava Mantapa, as envisaged now, will be a six-floor structure in the midst of the 7.5-acre plot and represent various principles of Basaveshwara’s philosophy. It will showcase the 12th Century Anubhava Mantapa (often referred to as the “first Parliament of the world”) established by him in Basavakalyan where philosophers and social reformers held debates. The building will adopt the Kalyana Chalukya style of architecture. The grand structure supported by 770 pillars will have an auditorium with a seating capacity of 770 people. It is believed that 770 Sharanas (followers of Basaveshwara) led the Vachana reformist movement in the 12th Century. The basement is designed for a Dasoha Bhavana (dining hall) where around 1,500 people eat together. On its top, the structure would have a Linga placed on a large pedestal.
The project also envisages state-of-the-art robotic system, open-air theatre, modern water conservation system, terrace garden, library, research centre, prayer hall, yoga centre and so on.