Gulbarga to have a `Golden Temple'

SYMBOL OF AMITY: Sri Sharanabasaveshwar Temple in Gulbarga, which is to be redesigned on the model of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

SYMBOL OF AMITY: Sri Sharanabasaveshwar Temple in Gulbarga, which is to be redesigned on the model of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  

T.V. Sivanandan

GULBARGA: The project to convert the famous Sri Sharanabasaveshwar Temple here into a "Golden Temple of the South" was inaugurated during the celebrations of the 71st birth anniversary of Mahadosaha Peetathipathi of the Sharanabasaveshwar Samasthan Sharanabasavappa Appa here on Monday.

The temple, constructed aesthetically two centuries ago, is a monument to communal amity: the temple draws not only devout Veerashaivaites but also Muslims and members of other communities.

Gulbarga is known for its diverse culture. However, Islam dominates, as the region was under the Mughal rule for a long time. In a region identified as communally sensitive, the Sharanabasaveshwar Temple has stood as a symbol of communal harmony and bonded different communities.

The mortal remains of the 18th social reformer and saint Sri Sharanabasaveshwara, who devoted his life to serve those in need, are in a samadhi at the temple.

The project to convert the shrine into a "Golden Temple" is the brainchild of Poojya Sharanabasavappa Appa, who was instrumental in spreading the activities of the samasthan and the Sharanabasaveshwar Vidya Vardak Sangh for the welfare and service of people in need.

According to Dr. Appa, the estimated cost of the project is about Rs. 5 crores. Expert artisans from Tamil Nadu have been identified to install golden plates on the imposing dome of the temple.

Gandhiji's visit

Mahatma Gandhi visited the temple when he came to know that the Razakaars, the private army of the Nizam who ruled the Hyderabad Province (Hyderabad Karnataka was part of the province before its liberation and merger with the then Mysore State), had attacked the temple. The Razaakars, who were angry that the temple was used by those against the rule of the Nizam as a meeting place, had raided the temple and damaged the dome, causing resentment among devotees.

It is 60 years since the damaged dome was reconstructed and a "Pancha Loha Kalasa" installed. Gold (1.10 kg) was donated by Chennabasavamma Thayi and Neelamma Thayi Nisti, sisters of Dr. Appa, and the "kalasa" was covered with gold plates.

Even before an appeal for donations for the project was made, members of different communities started making contributions. Prominent among those who have come forward are contractors Navaroze and Neville Irani, (Rs. 1 lakh), and industrialist S.S. Patil Kadaganchi (Rs. 51,000).

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