CM to inaugurate Swami Vivekananda memorial in Risaldar Galli Belagavi on February 1


Published: 24/01/2019



Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will inaugurate ‘Vivek Smarak’, the Swami Vivekananda Value Education and Cultural Centre, here on February 1.

The centre has come up in the ancestral home of Sadashiv Balakrishna Bhate where the monk stayed for three days 127 years ago. Swami Vivekananda had stayed in the house from October 16-18, 1892, before his sojourn to the U.S. Eleven months later, the monk would deliver the historic speech in Parliament of the World Religions in Chicago.

The heritage home, with extensive wood work and red tiles, is in Risaldar Galli in the old city. The house has been declared a sub-centre of the Ramakrishna Mission. The centre will be used to train youths in “moral values and right conduct”, said Sri Mokshatmananda Swami of the Ramakrishna Ashram.

The centre will have an audio visual centre where children can learn about Swami Vivekananda’s life and thoughts while playing games. It will also house a museum with pictures and mannequins in the bedroom and the hall that the preacher stayed.

The centre has come up at the cost of ₹3 crore. Traditional building materials and construction methods have been used to preserve the 19th century building. Lime mortar solutions, classical tiles and wooden material have been used to retain the original style.

Descendants of the owners donated the house to the ashram. The construction was completed by funds raised from followers and the Central and State government grants. The former President Pranab Mukherjee had laid the foundation stone for the conservation work in 2012.

Interestingly, Belagavi has another monument dedicated to the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission. The Ramakrishna Ashram’s Belagavi centre is built around the former residence of the sub-divisional forest officer Haripada Mitra. He hosted the fellow Bengali from October 19 to 27 in 1892. Members of the Mitra family became devotees of Swami Vivekananda later.

The monk, who was visiting friends and philanthropists in various States, had come to the court of the Maharaja of Kolhapur to seek assistance for his U.S. trip. Learning about his plans to visit Belagavi, Raosaheb Golwalkar, the senior counsel to the maharaja, introduced him to his friend Sadashiv Bhate at Risaldar Galli. He spent four days in the Bhate home before moving to the Mitras’ at their request.