Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday announced a 'majestic' Ram temple will be constructed at Ramadevara Betta (hill) in Ramanagara district near here.
The Chief Minister also said Anjanadri hill in Koppal district, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Anjaneya (Hanuman), a detailed project has been formulated involving various works at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore to provide basic facilities for tourists and a tender has been invited. He also said that in the next two years, a comprehensive development and renovation drive of various temples and Maths will be undertaken by the government with an expenditure of Rs 1,000 crore.
"A majestic Rama Mandira will be constructed in Ramadevara Betta of Ramanagara," Bommai, who also holds the finance portfolio, said while presenting the 2023-24 budget in the Assembly. Ramanagara district in-charge Minister C N Ashwath Narayan had in December last year urged Bommai to constitute a development committee to build a temple at Ramadevara Betta on the lines of Sri Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
In a letter to Bommai and Muzrai Minister Shashikala Jolle, he had demanded that Ramadevara Betta should be developed as the 'Ayodhya of South India'. The Ram temple should be built using 19 acres of space that belong to the Department of Muzrai at Ramadevara Betta, Narayan had said.
Stating that there is a strong belief among the people of the region that Sugriva had installed Ramadevara Betta, Narayan in his letter had said, "Considering the religious feelings of the people of the district, it should be developed as a heritage and attractive tourist spot. This would enable us to portray our culture as well as nurture tourism." "They also believe that seven great sages did their penance here. In addition, this is a prominent vulture conservation area in the country."
The traditional connection between Ramadevara Betta and the epic Ramayana dates back to the era of Tretayuga, he had said in the letter. According to the state's Tourism Department, Ramadevara Betta is situated 50 kilometres away from Bengaluru, and the famous Hindi blockbuster 'Sholay' was shot on this picturesque hill.
Ramanagara, part of Vokkaliga-dominated Old Mysuru region, is not considered among the BJP's strongholds. Assembly elections are due in Karnataka by May this year. While Ramanagara is the home district of state Congress President D K Shivakumar, it is also the 'karma bhoomi' of JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. While the latter is MLA from the district's Channapatna segment, his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy represents the neighbouring Ramanagara seat.
Kumaraswamy is seeking re-election from Channapatana, while his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy will be facing polls from Ramanagara.