Work on installing a 108-feet statue of Bengaluru founder Nadaprabhu Kempegowda began near the international airport in the city on Saturday.
The foundation stone for the statue was laid on the 511th birth anniversary of the city's founder.
"Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa laid the foundation stone for the statue of city founder Kempegowda near the airport where a 23-acre central park will also be built around it as a star attraction to thousands of visitors flying in and out of Bengaluru," an official said.
The Rs 80-crore statute will be built in a year for unveiling in 2021. Yediyurappa also unveiled a replica of the statute at the venue.
The Bengaluru International Airport is also named after the city founder.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress state unit president DK Shivakumar, state Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan, state Revenue Minister R Ashoka and others were present on the occasion.
"We are here for the laying of the foundation stone of the statue and without any party difference, we respect the decision to install this statue. (Deputy Chief Minister) Ashwath Narayan met leaders from other parties and convinced us to come here for the foundation ceremony under the leadership of Yediyurappa," Deve Gowda said speaking at the event.
"The Chief Minister has decided to introduce Kempe Gowda to an international audience here. I appreciate this initiative and it has our complete support. It is our duty to introduce Kempegowda to the world. We decided to start Kempe Gowda Jayanti on this day and now Yediyurappa has taken it forward by laying the foundation stone for the statue," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar said.
Adichunchanagiri Mutt pontiff Nirmalananda Swami, JSS Mutt pontiff Shivaratri Deshikendra Swami and Siddagagna Mutt pontiff Siddalinga Swamy graced the event.
Born on June 27, 1510 in Magadi, Kempegowda built four towers in the north, south, east and west of the garden city, with a view to limiting its growth up to a point at 3,000-feet above the sea level.
He also developed water bodies, including lakes and tanks for its supply to its people through the year.
"The Nadaprabhu's birthday celebration is meant to educate the people on the founder's grand vision, planning and building a futuristic city. Kempegowda's development works, including building the city's infrastructure during his regime inspires us even after 500 years," said the official.
"The state government will also develop Kempapura village in Magadi taluk, where Kempegowda's tomb is present, as a historical destination," said Narayan.
The state's Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Ltd will also develop Kempapura into an all-season tourist centre.
A state-run board which is managing the restoration and protection of Kempe Gowda monuments in the state will oversee the statue's construction."The statue has been a long-pending demand of the people of Karnataka," asserted Narayan.
A board that has been managing the restoration and protection of Kempe Gowda monuments in the state will oversee the statue.
With inputs from IANS