It would be a matter of pride for Mysore, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a statue of Guru Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath today as the mastermind behind this grand art is none other than a fifth generation artist from Mysore Mr. Arun Yogiraj. He hails from a famed Mysuru family of sculptors which has a resounding legacy of sculpting divine statues of temples and various other historical sculptures of the nation. This statue which weighs around 28 tonnes was completed in a record time of 9 months and 14 days with extreme perfection and dedication to its formation.
Adi shankaracharya Statue To Be Inaugurated In Kedarnath
The statue, measuring 12ft and weighing 28 tonnes, is carved out of a single rock. It has travelled all the way to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, covering more than 2,000km. Adi Shankaracharya is said to have taken samadhi at Kedarnath. This statue will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi, a one of its kind statue which is a compensation for the statue that was destroyed in 2013 Kedarnath tragedy.
Arun Yogiraj Is A Fifth Generation Sculptor
Arun Yogiraj (37), a fifth generation sculptor, is an MBA graduate who used to work with a private firm, but quit his job in 2008, and took up the chisel. His family has done many statues for the Mysuru Wadiyar family, and Mysore City has many of their works. It was Jindal Steel Works which took up the project, and approached Arun and his father. Arun had spent a month in Kedarnath to oversee the installation of his statue.
“I was given a 3D model photograph, but I was not happy. I did my own model, a 2-ft prototype which was sent to PM Modi, as did many other sculptors. My model was selected,’’ he said. His model has a Srichakra (circular sacred geometry used for worship, devotion and meditation) on which Guru Shankaracharya is sitting. “We got Krishna Shile from HD Kote. This rock can withstand rain, sun, fire, air and other harsh climates. I didn’t take a single day off,’’ he said. “I was told to make a 360 degree view, which was most challenging. He is a sanyasi, with no hair on his head and wearing a kaavi. I had to make his face look divine, and even sent all my helpers out for a few days as I wanted to focus on it,” he said. “The Mandakini river touches the statue before flowing further.” It may be recalled that Shankaracharya’s samadhi was washed away in the 2013 floods.
Arun has done challenging work earlier too. A few years ago, he made the life-size statue of the last ruler of Mysore Kingdom, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, which is now on the Hardinge Circle in Mysuru. It is one of few marble statues made by Indian artistes. It’s commendable that the new generation is carrying the legacy of their families as Arun took the art of Sculpting forward despite being an MBA graduate. This is not only a symbol of culture but also the live for art and skills towards the nation.