L K Advani visited Belgaum on 4th February for the inauguration of the auditorium at the Ramkrishna Misson Ashrama.
Here is what he writes on his blog.
Last week I was invited by the Ramakrishna Mission, Belgaum, to come to Belgaum and formally inaugurate a large auditorium they had put up quite close to the place where Swami Vivekananda had stayed during his first tour of South India.
My visit to Belgaum was literally an interaction with history. Just visiting the place where Swami Vivekananda had stayed for nine days, and which today is maintained with appropriate reverence makes one feel elevated. The site is inside the Belgaum Fort, a large area within which has been given to the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swami ji came to Belgaum in 1892 and the idea that he should visit Chicago the following year 1893 for the World Parliament of Religions is believed to have germinated here.
It was in Belgaum again that a Congress Session was held in 1924 exactly one hundred years after Rani Chennamma from Kittur, close to Belgaum, rose in revolt against British rule much before the first War of Independence of 1857. I recall my visit to Kittur to pay homage to Rani Chennamma during my Swarna Jayanti Yatra of 1997.
Mahatama Gandhi commanded extraordinary influence over the Congress all his life. But the one and only time he became President of the Party was in 1924.
Belgaum was an important centre of the Freedom movement. Lokmanya Tilak launched his Home Rule League from Belgaum in 1916. The town had the honour of hosting the All India 39th Congress session in 1924, that was the only session which was presided over by Mahatma Gandhi, and the only session held in Karnataka. ‘Veersoudha’ is a monument built in memory of this session. The well in the campus was popularly known as Congress Well which was built to meet the drinking water requirement of the session. The well was named as Pampa Sarovara and the Venue of the session was named as Vijaynagar, after the Hampi empire.