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Sculptor of 12-foot Adi Guru Shankaracharya idol at Kedarnath makes Karnataka proud

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils the 12-foot idol of Adi Shankaracharya in Kedarnath on November 5, 2021

As the nation watched the unveiling of the 12-foot statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya at Kedarnath by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday, one person wore a satisfied and happy smile. He is none other than Arun Yogiraj the sculptor of the statue.

Talking about the inauguration, Yogiraj said: “It’s a moment of joy for us. After nine months of toil for at least 14 hours a day, we completed the statue of Shankaracharya, which Prime Minister Modi inaugurated at Kedarnath.”

Besides Yogiraj, the entire Karnataka State too was proud of this achievement. Revealing his thoughts on this earlier he said: “This is a matter of pride that an idol made in Karnataka is going to be installed at pilgrimage centre of Kedarnath. It’s an honour for all sculptors in the State.”

The responsibility on Yogiraj’s shoulder was tremendous as he had been chosen by the PM for this onerous task. Talking to Swarajya Magazine he said: “This was a huge responsibility. Every single aspect of the making and would constantly be updated about the progress of the same.”

Continuing he added: “The people of Karnataka are feeling proud as the idol of Adi Shankaracharya (Hindu philosopher who revived Hinduism in India) was unveiled in Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.”

Sculpted in nine months’ time, there were seven sculptors who worked hard and relentlessly for 12 hours in two shifts under the constant watch and guidance of Yogiraj. The fact that the stone on which the statue was carved weighed 80 tonnes while the idol weighs 26 to 28 tonnes is a testimony of their work.

Sharing details about the statue which shows the 33-year-old Adiguru, Yogiraj said: “We have kept in mind that the face of an idol should have a cherishing look, it should have a realistic appearance and it should also look beautiful from all 360 degree angles. Have read Shankaracharya’s life history as preparations.”

Interestingly, 37-year-old Yogiraj who is a Masters in Business Administration gave up his lucrative job to take up this work which is traditional for his family. “I represent the fifth generation of sculptors in my family. My name was referred by Hampi Kannada University to the Prime Minister’s Office in August 2020 for making an idol. The PMO office had asked to make 25 inches of idol from sculptors across the country. My model was finalised in September 2020.”

Once Yogiraj’s name was finalised to make this idol, a meeting the Indian Air Force was held to chalk about the idol’s weight and other details since it had to be airlifted to Kedarnath after completion. Completed in June 2021 the idol was to Chamoli airbase by road and then airlifted to Kedarnath by a special helicopter.