Sunday, May 26, 2024

PM unveils 108-feet bronze statue of Bengaluru founder ‘Nadaprabhu’ Kempegowda

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BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday unveiled the 108-feet tall statue of the city’s founder Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, which is the “first and the tallest bronze statue of a founder of a city”, as per the ‘World Book of Records’.

Called the “Statue of Prosperity”, it has been built to commemorate the contribution of Kempegowda towards the growth of Bengaluru.

The statue weighing 218 tonnes (98 tonnes of bronze and 120 tonnes of steel) has been installed at the Kempegowda International Airport here. It has a sword weighing four tonnes.

The project, besides the statue, has a heritage theme park in an area covering 23 acres dedicated to the 16th century chieftain, together costing about Rs 84 crore to the government.

Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and several of his cabinet colleagues, Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Math, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, BJP Parliamentary Board member B S Yediyurappa, former Chief Minister S M Krishna, BJP legislators, officials, among others were present at the event.

Kempegowda, a feudatory ruler under the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire founded Bengaluru in 1537. He is revered, especially by the Vokkaliga community that is dominant in Old Mysuru and other parts of southern Karnataka.

Renowned sculptor and Padma Bhushan awardee Ram Vanji Sutar has designed the statue. Sutar had built the ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat and the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Bengaluru’s ‘Vidhana Soudha’.

As a precursor to the unveiling, ‘Mruthike’ (sacred mud) was collected from over 22,000 locations across the state, which was mixed symbolically with the mud beneath one of the four towers of the statue.

Twenty-one special vehicles collected the sacred mud in villages, towns and cities during the last two weeks.

With the installation of the statue ahead of the Assembly polls next year, a competition of sorts seems to have erupted between political parties to claim credit for the legacy of Kempegowda, aimed at garnering electoral support from the politically dominant Vokkaliga community.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah had earlier said the Congress government led by him was the one which had first planned to install the statue of Kempegowda at the airport.

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