In accordance with the concept, vision and the exemplary initiative of Sikkim Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling, the Government is endeavoring to promote “Rural Village, Eco friendly and Religious Tourism.” The unparalleled beauty of the State and very friendly and hospitable people are our competitive and comparative advantage. The construction of the Pilgrimage-cum-Cultural Centre at Solophok aims at promoting Religious Tourism, coupled with Village and Eco tourism, and is also aimed at providing immense income generation avenues and opportunities through economic spin–off. Once completed this will be a major hub for pilgrims and tourist visiting Sikkim.
The Government has envisioned in establishing a unique Pilgrim Centre with a 108 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva on the Solophok hill. Apart from the ground-scaled Shiva statue, this Pilgrim Centre would also provide replicas of the twelve Jyotirlingas, to offer one platform for Shiva devotees.
In Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva, after loosing Sati in Agnikund, had gone into seclusion and become a hunter in the forests of Sikkim. There is also a mention in Mahabharata that during Arjuna’s exile, he had fought over hunting a wild pig, with Lord Shiva incarnated as Kirateshwar in Indrakeel (Present Sikkim). Therefore, in this hunter incarnation he is locally worshipped by the people of Sikkim as Lord Kirateshwar. A statue of 18 feet height of Lord Kirateshwar has also been proposed as the part of the complex.
In order to attain Moksha, the Hindu belief is to perform pilgrimage to all the existing four Dhams. Thereby, replicas of these four Dhams, namely Badrinath, Jaganath and Dwarka dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Rameshwar, dedicated to Lord Shiva are also being constructed.
The pilgrim centre is being constructed on top of the Solophok Hill in South Sikkim which is about 5 kilometers from Namchi town. It has an acquired area of 29.95 Ha of land. The built up complex would cover an area of approximately 25 acres and is accessible by a memorable road.
The profile of the hill suggested that the main Shiva complex with the main statue be placed at the highest commanding point in the west direction and facing east (almost). This 108 ft high statue of Lord Shiva (in a sitting posture) will be the focus of attraction encircled by the twelve Jyotirlingas. The entire complex is divided into four main elements, namely (1) Shiva Statue with 12 Jyotirlingas, (2) Four Dhams, (3) Sai Baba Temple and (4) Kirateshwar statue.
Besides, it is also proposed to construct, Yatri Niwas, Guest House, Security Block, Shops, Sewerage Treatment Plant, Foot Path, statues of Religious deities, Water Reservoirs, Pavilion Covering, Fire fighting, Electrical & Plumbing Paraphernalia, Auditorium Furnishing, Art works, Movie Making, Audio Visuals, LCD screen display, Kiosks in the complex & TVs in yatri Niwas, surround sound effects engulfing the entire complex, construction of Accommodation for approximately 40 persons, service workers & staff. The entire area shall under go landscaping, tree plantation and Gardening complete. As on date the entire cost of the project today stands at Rs.99.56 Crore.
This pilgrimage centre has been dedicated and designed to place Sikkim in the very conscience, heart and minds of the citizens of India and beyond. Apart from providing a unique religious and cultural ambience, the Pilgrimage-cum-Cultural Centre established on a grand scale hereafter ought to be a tourist attraction at the National as well as International level. The existing linkages have been explored and the tourist activities targeted are Pilgrimage, cultural activities, seminars, religious discourses, nature study and passive recreation. The
construction activity itself has benefited the people of the State, and will invariably improve at large the socio economic condition of the people in the state. It will undoubtedly provide immense income generation avenues and opportunities through economic spin-off on completion. The project conceived by the Government shall prove to be manna from the heavens, where upon it will enhance the economic capacity of the people.
During construction every attempt is being made to protect, preserve and promote the beautiful landscape of this Solophok Hill and all steps will be taken to maintain the serenity and harmony of the proposed site where nature is in its pristine perfection.
The Pilgrimage cum cultural centre at Solophok, South Sikkim is being inaugurated on 8th of November 2011.
Brief Status of work
Date of commencement: 13/02/2005
Anticipated Date of completion: 30/10/2011
Total Sanctioned Cost: Rs 99.56 crores
Expenditure Till date: Rs 56.51 crores