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Monday, October 3, 2022

Pant Maharaj Balekundri’s portrait finds a place in airport gallery – Mrit News

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A portrait of Pant Maharaj Balekundri, a 19 th century saint from Balekundri village, now adorns the art gallery at the Sambra Airport in Belagavi.

This is a tribute to the proponent of Avadhut Navanath philosophy who spoke of the need for love for all humans, in his books Datta Prema Lahari and Prema Tarang.

Apart from a brief biographical detail about the seer, the 64 sq ft image contains a road map and directions to Balekundri, that is just four kilometres away from the airport.

A contemporary of Swami Vivekananda, Pant Maharaj Balekundri was a proponent of spiritualism devoid of strict rituals. People from various castes visit his Samadhi and temple at Balekundri. Thousands from across Karnataka and Maharashtra gather at the annual festival in December.

Pant Maharaj Balekundri was born in 1855 and passed away in 1905. He worked as a teacher in Belagavi for some years, before becoming a monk. He considered Sri Balmukund and Sri Kallappa Maharaj as his Gurus.

Pant Maharaj Balekundri chronicled his experiences of meditation in his books and essays. He met Swami Vivekananda when the latter visited Belagavi in 1892.

Sanjay Pant Balekundri, a descendant of the seer, and other dignitaries unveiled the portrait at the airport’s departure lounge recently.

Rajesh Kumar Maurya, airport director, Shirish Deshpande, painter, members of the Balekundri Datta Temple and others were present.

The artist explained that the portrait was a ball point pen drawing made with coloured pens. Pens of four colours, red, yellow, brown and black, were used. The portrait was made using a black and white old photograph of the seer as reference. The image is painted on a canvas of cotton fibre handmade paper.

“I must have taken around 90 hours in a span of 18 days to complete the image in 2020,” Mr. Deshpande told The Hindu.

Placing it in the airport will not only help pilgrims who visit the city but also spread awareness about the Guru among others, he said.


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