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A Shivaratri gift for people of Bijapur

Suresh Bhat



A MIGHTY TRIBUTE: An 85-foot tall Shiva statue getting ready at Rambapur village near Bijapur.

BIJAPUR: Barely after a three-km drive on Ukkali Road from here, you get a view of a gigantic statue of Lord Shiva under construction.

The 85-foot tall statue is being given finishing touches. It is to be unveiled on the auspicious day of Maharashivaratri that falls on February 26. A round temple has been built underneath the huge idol weighing 1,500 tonnes.

All this has been carried out by a family-sponsored organisation called T.K. Patil Banakatti Charitable Trust.

According to trust chairman and film producer Basantkumar Patil it is going to be the second tallest Shiva idol next only to the one at Murdeshwar in Uttara Kannada district.

While Bangalore-based architects provided the civil design, sculptors from Shimoga toiled for 13 months to realise this statue, which is made of steel and cement.

A small idol of Shiva will be installed beneath the big statue. Besides, the "Shiva Charite" will be engraved on the inside walls of temple in Kannada to help devotees learn the mythological stories related to Shiva. The trust wants to make it a major pilgrimage centre.

What is making it a place of public interest is the series of charity work the trust has taken up there.

An old age home is coming up on this 18-acre sprawling premises named as Basant Van, and it is scheduled to be inaugurated on same day.

Mr. Patil told The Hindu that initially it can accommodate 52 members and the capacity will be enhanced gradually.

Women will be given preference in admission. Once this is stabilised, the trust will establish a free boarding school for meritorious students from economically and socially backward classes.

Mr. Patil and his four brothers, who are the trustees, have planned to weigh their mother Tulasibayi with gold on February 26. As she weighs 55 kg, the gold is estimated to be Rs. 4.5 crores and this money will be deposited in a bank and interest from it will be used for charity work.

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