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Mysurian Arun Yogiraj who built the statue of Adi Shankaracharya in Kedarnath

Sunday, November 07, 2021

When the entire country is in awe of the magnificent statue of Adi Shankaracharya that was unveiled by PM Modi during his visit to the holy shrine of Kedarnath on Friday, Namma Mysuru is proud of its own artist who sculpted the beautiful idol.

It was Arun Yogiraj, an artist from Mysuru, who is to be credited for the splendid idol of Adi Shankaracharya installed in Kedarnath. He spent nine months of relentless work to build the statue and bring it into its current form.

“It was my privilege to sculpt the statue of Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath. The process started in August 2020 and I was selected to make a sculpture by JSW. Before that, I made a model of two feet,” Yogiraj was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Arun Yogiraj belongs to an illustrious family of sculptors. His father Yogiraj Shilpi, was one among the eight children of B Basavanna Shilpi, a Mysuru palace artist who was appointed to work on the Gayatri Temple, the Bhuvaneshwari Temple and similar other tasks. The idol of Kaveri on the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam was also built by his grandfather.

Arun Yogiraj presented the model in front of the prime minister in September 2020. There were four-five models brought from all over India. Among those, his model was selected and he got a call to make a 12 feet statue of Adi Shankaracharya.

Yogiraj thought it was a huge responsibility entrusted upon him, as Prime Minister Modi was himself involved with every single aspect of the making and was constantly updated about the progress of the same.

The process started in September 2020 and a team of seven worked continuously for nine months, 14-15 hours a day to create the idol. More than 80 tons of raw material was purchased for sculpting the statue which weighs around 28 tons. The idol was carved out of a single rock called ‘Krishna shile’ or the black chlorite schist, which has the strength to withstand all vagaries of the weather.

During the process, Yogiraj sought suggestions from the Shringeri Mutt, the Shankara Mutt in Mysuru and other religious sources.

Arun’s other work include the famous 14.5-feet white marble stone sculpture of the Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar in Mysuru, White marble sculpture of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and various statues at the railway station. He also created a monolithic stone statue of Sir M V for the Mangalore PWD office.

He had completed his MBA and was employed with a private firm till 2008 when his inner calling led him to resign from his job and embrace his family legacy.

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