KARNATAKA

Panchakalyan Mahotsava begins

A NEW LANDMARK: Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani at the Navagraha Tirtha, near Hubli on Monday.

A NEW LANDMARK: Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani at the Navagraha Tirtha, near Hubli on Monday.  

Staff Correspondent

HUBLI: A 12-day Panchakalyan Mahotsava and Mahamastakabhishekha of Bhagavan Parshwanth Teerthankar and eight other teerthankars began on a grand note here on Monday with the former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani inaugurating it.

There were several folk troupes and tableaux in the background of devotional songs that added colour to the religious ceremony.

According to an estimate, about one lakh people attended the programme, which will culminate with "Pushpavrishti" on January 26. The next Mahamastabhishekha would be held after nine years, nine months and nine days.

Mr. Advani recalled the words of the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who said that because of pilgrim centres India had remained united.

Secularism

Mr. Advani regretted the "faulty definition" of the word secularism.

"Many use the term to mean not pertaining to one particular religion. The actual meaning is not pertaining to any particular tradition or cult," he said.

Lauding the efforts of Acharya Gunadhar Nandi, who was instrumental in starting the project and in supervising it, Mr. Advani said completing such a gigantic work in two years would be possible only to saints like him.

The BJP leader first greeted the people in Kannada on the occasion of Makara Sankranti and later switched over to Hindi.

Bangalore South MP and BJP national general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar translated the speech of Mr. Advani into Kannada. Mr. Advani released audio CDs on Navagraha Tirtha on the occasion.

Acharya Gunadhar Nandi Maharaj's dream of making Navagraha Tirtha at Varur near Hubli, a Jain pilgrim centre, received a boost with Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa promising Rs. 2 crore for a Yatri Nivas there.

Acharya Gunadhar Nandi said he felt contented after having completed the work on Navagraha Tirtha.

Acharya Devanandi Maharaj said there was a need for establishing a college at Varur to take up research on "Navagraha".

Revenue Minister Jagadish Shettar released a souvenir to mark the occasion.

Mr. Ananth Kumar released the "Mahotsava Patrika".

Horticulture Minister Shashikanth Naik, MPs Pralhad Joshi, Suresh Angadi, and Manjunath Kunnur, the former Union Minister Dhananjaykumar, MLAs S.I. Chikkanagoudar, Abhaykumar Patil, former MLA Ashok Katwe, and Pratibha Advani, daughter of Mr. Advani, were present.

Sculptor Omprakash Swamy, donors Rajkumar Doshi and Abhaykumar Dotia were felicitated on the occasion.

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