The Isha Foundation headed by Jaggi Vasudev (popularly known as Sadhguru), has been mired in controversies for the illegal establishment of its base at an ecologically sensitive area at Ikkarai Boluvampatti in Coimbatore and is now shifting its base to Avalagurki village in the foothills of the Nandi Hills. Nandi Hills is a famous tourist destination in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka.
On 8th October 2022, the Naga Mantapa was unveiled at the Isha Foundation’s new location in Chikkaballapur. In the background, a 112-feet tall bust of the ‘Adiyogi Shiva’ is seen to be under construction and is expected to be open to the people on the Makara Sankranti to be celebrated on January 15, 2023. Located in Avalagurki village, 70 km away from Bengaluru, this is the second center of the Isha Foundation after the Isha Yoga headquarters in Coimbatore Tamil Nadu.
Media outlet News18 has reported that “Spread over 100 acres and surrounded by hillocks on all four sides, the latest facility of Isha Foundation is expected to be fully functional in 2-3 years. The Chikkaballapur center will be a replica of the Coimbatore campus including the 112-feet Adiyogi Shiva statue, 8 Navagraha temples along with a unique Bhairavi temple, say officials at Isha Foundation.”
In the report, he notes that “Many streams which originate from the foothills of Nandi hills join together to become the Chitravati stream which ultimately flows into the ʼParagoduʼ reservoir located in Bagepalli taluk. The reservoir was built by the Government of Karnataka to provide drinking water for the surrounding areas.
These water channels flowing from various valleys of Nandi Hills are located in the area and are marked with blue color. The 112 feet high statue alongside the Yogashala and the road connecting the same to NH – 7 is being built near Hanumathapura village which is located amidst water channels depicted by the thick blue in the above-provided picture.”
The author further states that “It is said that Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev purchased 10 acres of land belonging to farmers to build all this and install Adiyogi’s statue in this area where water flows are congested. It is said that these lands are next to common grazing lands. The area of rainwater flow between the hill ecosystem and agro-ecosystem is called Ecosystem flow. All these are naturally formed pits providing for the flow of rainwater and the region is made of many such pits. Blocking or diverting the flow of such natural flows of rainwater, is a violation of the law as per the ‘Thippagondanahalli Ordinance -2004’ and the issuance of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the concerned Gram Panchayat for the construction of Sadguru Yogashala is also a violation of the law.
The flow of water into Paragodu Reservoir is understood only when one understands that the streams move towards the Paragodu Reservoir only after filling the many lakes found in its path and that this environmental flow is playing an important role in increasing the groundwater level. Therefore, it must be ensured that the water flow remains uninterrupted.
It must be noted that all these developments are taking place while the infamous Isha Foundation is still fighting its case at the Madras High Court against the notice issued by the Tamil Nadu government regarding the construction of buildings in Velliangiri hills in Coimbatore between 2006 and 2014 without obtaining the necessary environmental clearance. Providing an update on the case before the Madras High Court, noted environmental researcher Nityanand Jayaraman informed gaurilankeshnews.com that the hearings have been adjourned for now after the Union government stated that the environmental clearances weren’t required in the case of Isha foundation since it was an educational institution.
A picture of the initial stage of demographic pressure in the area where the Pinakini stream flows towards Gauribidanur taluk and Chitravati streams flow towards Bagepally and Paragodu reservoir through Shidlaghatta in the lush green area North of Nandi Hill in Chikkaballapura district.