Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai unveils the wonders

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has announced the ‘Seven Wonders of Karnataka'.

This is the day to rejoice and celebrate the pride of Karnataka. Just as the  world marvels at the beauty of the landmark Seven Wonders of the World, our land of Karnataka now  boasts of its own Seven Wonders. The list is finally out! Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has announced  the ‘Seven Wonders of Karnataka,’ which represent the best of the state’s land and water, forest and sea,  faith and science, architecture and sculpture, and history and heritage. The Seven Wonders showcase only  the very best that this state has to offer.  

The declaration of the Seven Wonders was made by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai at a glittering event  in a five-star hotel in the city on Saturday. In the ceremonial event, the chosen wonders were awarded a  state certificate, which was received by the respective district commissioners. The Seven Wonders of  Karnataka are as follows.  

1. Hirebenakal Rock Tombs: Dating back tothe period between 800 BC and 200BC, it is estimated, this  prehistoric site in Koppal district’s Gangavati taluk, is declared to be the ‘Mega Stone Age Wonder’.  2. Hampi: Built between 14th and 16th century, Hampi stands as the stellar example of Vijayanagara  Empire’s glorious rule. Still standing beautiful in Vijayanagara district, Hampi has been declared the  ‘Architectural Wonder’.  

3. Gomateshwara: The 57-feet tall towering statue of Gomateshwara was built in the 10th century  atop the Vindhyagiri Hill in Hassan district’s Shravanabelagola. It has been declared as a  ‘Philosophical Wonder’. 

4. Gol Gumbaz: Built by Sultan Mohammed Adil Shah during the 17th century in Bijapur (now  Vijayapura), the massive Gol Gumbaz has been declared the ‘Architectural Science Wonder’. 5. Mysore Palace: Dating back to the 19th and 20th century, the world-famous Amba Vilas Palace,  which was envisioned by the Wodeyar Dynasty was declared as the ‘Royal Heritage Wonder’. 6. Jog Falls: Considered among the most beautiful waterfalls in India, water gushes from a great  height of 830-feet in Shimoga district’s Jog Falls. This world-famous visual treat has been declared a  ‘Natural Wonder on Land’.  

7. Netrani Island: Symbolic of love itself, this heart-shaped island on the Arabian Sea off  Murudeshwar in Uttara Kannada district has been declared a ‘Natural Wonder onWater’.  

Addressing the gathering on this occasion, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the ‘Seven Wonders  of Karnataka’ has created a fresh tourism model for the state. I have already set in motion the preparation  of a detailed development plan for Hirebenakal, which is a part of this stellar list of wonders. The District  Commissioners of each of the seven wonders are asked to submit a blueprint development report to  upgrade the facilities at these places.

The Seven Wonders of Karnataka were scooped out after a year of persistent effort and hard work. CM  Bommai requested that the list of 5,000 nominated places be handed over to the government. These places  would be used as the blueprint for creating a state tourism promotion plan, he assured. 

CM Bommai expressed appreciation for the meticulous process of nomination, whittling down and finally  arriving at the Seven Wonders of Karnataka. He lauded the project team for sowing the seeds for a great  initiative. He asked that the project not stop here but rather continue as an annual event. By doing this,  said the CM, more precious and lesser-known places are likely to emerge. These are not just tourism  locations but excellent opportunities to impart the true stories of our rich history, heritage and culture, said  Mr. Bommai. 

Karnataka state tourism minister Anand Singh said, “Since I have taken the state tourism office, a number  of development programmes have been initiated in tourism hotspots. Still, there is much more to do. The  project of the Seven Wonders of Karnataka should be eternally kept alive. But, the legislative assembly  elections are upon us shortly. It is the nature of politics for parties to change and power to shift hands.  There should be a commitment to continue protecting and promoting important tourism centers. In this,  public cooperation is most important. It doesn’t matter who is in power, the district commissioners and  tourism department officials should undertake the responsibility unfailingly.” 

He further added that our country itself is a wonder. Our state is an even more beautiful wonder. There is  no doubt that these chosen seven wonders have all that it takes to attract the most curious travelers of the  world. He is of the opinion that with the right media promotion, these places will stay intact in the hearts  and minds of people. 

For a long time now, citizens of the Karavali region are requesting the relaxation of the CRZ (Coastal  Regulation Zone) norms to increase commercial and economic activity here. During Prime Minister  Narendra Modi’s recent visit here, he declared a relaxation of the CRZ norms, which comes as a huge relief  to this region. The relaxation will promote economic activity along the coastline. Moreover, tourism spots  in this region will get a huge boost.  

Ambassador of the The Seven Wonders of Karnataka project, popular actor Ramesh Aravind said that  Karnataka is blessed with hundreds of wonders. When I was approached to wear the hat of responsibility in  choosing just seven out of these hundreds of wonders, I immediately accepted as it is a work of honour.  Every year, different beautiful women from across the world wear the Miss World crown. But these  wonderful places have been wearing the crown of beauty for years on end. Our scriptures have the  beautiful phrase of Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram, which literally translates to Truth-Godliness-Beauty. It  means that the truth of existence, more than being good, is an experience of Godliness. Similarly, if an idea  has to be eternally beautiful, it has to possess these qualities of truth, Godliness and essence. 

The Seven Wonders of Karnataka are not just a visual treat. They also carry the essence of belonging, along  with reflecting our culture, heritage and, above all, truth, he explained. 

We may have many differences in the form of language, caste, creed and the God we worship. These Seven  Wonders bring together all of us with our various differences of nationality, language and beliefs to agree  on the beauty of these wonders.The chosen Seven Wonders have an extra edge for the great potential that  they carry. They attract visitors from all over the world to our state to first plan their visit to these seven  wonders. These places serve as lessons of our stories and heritage to keen students of our culture. This is  the first such brave attempt in the state, making an official entry into the Seven Wonders, he said. 

Koppal Deputy Commissioner Sundaresh Babu, Vijayanagara Deputy Commissioner T Venkatesh, Hassan  Deputy Commissioner M S Archana, Vijayapura Deputy Commissioner Mahantesh Danammanavar, Mysuru  Deputy Commissioner Dr. T V Rajendra, Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner's representative Assistant  Commissioner Pallavi, and Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner Prabhulinga Kavalikatti received the  certificates and official declaration for the winning Wonders of Karnataka. 

Kannada Prabha daily newspaper and Asianet Suvarna News channel collaborated with the Karnataka  Tourism Department to undertake this mega project of identifying and promoting the ‘Seven Wonders of  Karnataka’.  

The Selection Panel  

The jury that chose the Seven Wonders of Karnataka included VC and social evangelist in the startup  ecosystem Prashanth Prakash; Three-time Grammy-winning musician, Global Goodwill Ambassador and  environment activist Ricky Kej; Director of films like Wild Karnataka and Gandhada Gudi, wildlife  photographer Amoghavarsha; President of the Karnataka Itihasa Academy, renowned prehistory and  history expert Dr. Devarakonda Reddy; world-renowned speed painter and young world traveler Vilas  Nayak; Managing Director of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and Joint Secretary to  the chief minister G Jagadeesha; and Editor-in-Chief of Kannada Prabha and Asianet Suvarna News Ravi  Hegde. 

The Selection Process 

The Seven Wonders of Karnataka project was announced to identify the top Seven places within the state  that truly represent the best that Karnataka has to offer, including its land, water, forests and seas,  architecture, science, sculpture, art, history and heritage. Enthusiastic Kannadigas sent in as many as 5000  nominations from every nook and corner of the state. An internal jury went through each and every  nomination and whittled down the places to 100. 

These 100 places were put through the test of fire, that is public voting. Over 82 lakh votes were registered  on various platforms, including Kannada Prabha newspaper, Asianet Suvarna News channel and the  Website. From these votes, the top 21 places with the highest number of votes proceeded to the final  stage. It took a year to conduct detailed surveys on these 21 finalists. A Seven-member panel consisting of  tourism and history experts critically evaluated these places on seven-point criteria. The panel participated  in thorough discussions of each place based on the seven criteria, including history, making/construction  and materials used, specialty and identity, beauty, artistic skills, enormity, and current state/condition. The  SevenWonders of Karnataka were arrived at unanimously by the panel.

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