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Marvellous Karnataka

Vidurashwatha: Jallianwala Bagh of South India

Marvellous Karnataka Raksha Deshpande
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Many interesting places in Karnataka are devoid of publicity, and one such place is Vidurashwatha situated in Gauribidanuru Taluk of Chikkaballapura District. This place played a significant role in Mahabharata and Freedom struggle too. It is commonly known as Jallianwala Bagh of South India. It is also famous for peepal tree which is called as Ashwatha in Kannada.

About Vidurashwatha, the story goes that Vidhura, uncle of Pandavas planted the tree. According to mythology after the Kurukshethra war, Vidhura, travelled across India to attain salvation, based on advice from Lord Krishna. He arrived at this place and stayed in the ashram of sage Maithreya and prayed on the banks of the River Uttara Pinakini. Once while offering his morning prayers, he saw a sapling of Ashwatha tree floating in the river. He planted it on the banks of the river and worshipped with great devotion. Pleased by his devotion, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva appeared before him and blessed him salvation. As Vidhura planted the Ashwatha tree and attained salvation here, this place got its name Vidurashwatha. This Ashwatha tree fell sometime early around 2001, however, a part of the trunk is still preserved.

There is a temple dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and the Aswatha tree is believed to represent these three Lords through three parts of the tree: bottom portion including roots represents Brahma, middle portion (trunk), Vishnu, and the top portion (branches, leaves) of the tree, Shiva. An inscription in Kannada to this effect can be found on the temple wall.

Coming to the heinous incident happened on April 25, 1938, a group of villagers congregated to organise Satyagraha as part of the freedom struggle of India here. The police fired indiscriminately at the group, resulting in the death of around 35 people. This is similar to the incident that happened on April 13, 1919, in which British troops fired on a large crowd of unarmed Indians in an open space known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, killing 547 people and injuring many others. Due to the similarity in incidents, and the valour of people this place is known as the “Jallianwala Bagh of South India”. A memorial was built in 1973 at this place as a respect to the martyred. The memorial includes stone pillar with the names of the martyred freedom fighters engraved on it. A garden and a building were added later as part of the memorial.

The kannada movie named Vidhurashwatha is based on this incident.

One can visit Nandi Betta, and Kolar Gold mines during the trip to Vidhurashwatha. The place can be visited throughout the year.

Photo Source: Facebook/ Wikimedia Commons

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Raksha Deshpande

The author is a postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from Karnataka University, Dharwad. Her interests range from literature, history, travel to politics, and is keenly interested to write human interest stories and articles relating to literature, travel.

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