The 12-foot-tall statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya in Kedarnath, weighing 35 tons, was made by Mysore-based sculptors from Chlorite Schist Stone, known to withstand rain, sun and harsh climate, have said tourism officials. The statue, which will be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 5, has been polished with coconut water to bring out its shine, officials added.
The unveiling of the statue will be broadcast live to the rest of the 11 Jyotir Lingas, four mathematics (monastic institutions) and the main temples of Shiva, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said.
During the Uttarakhand flood in 2013, the samadhi (final resting place) of Adi Guru Shankaracharya next to the Kedarnath temple was washed away. Shankaracharya’s new statue was installed just behind Kedarnath Temple as part of its reconstruction project.
Yogiraj Shilpi of Mysore, a sculptor rooted in five generations of craftsmanship, completed work on the new statue with the help of his son, Arun. Yogiraj Shilpi was hired by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after a nationwide search. Yogiraj started making the statue in September 2020 with around 120 tons of stone purchased for his sculpture. The sculpture, which weighs around 35 tons, depicts Adi Shankaracharya in a seated position, officials said.
Tourism officials said the Center and state governments are also engaged in the reconstruction of Kedarnath Dham, to be done in phases, for which more than ??500 crores were sanctioned.
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State Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj said reconstruction work in Kedarnath would not have been possible without Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision. “We look forward to his presence here soon. It will also inaugurate the second phase of reconstruction work in Shri Kedarnath, ”he added.
Uttarakhand Tourism Secretary Dilip Jawalkar said: “I would like to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jindal Steel Works for their generous efforts in rebuilding the monument. We are convinced that this establishment will not only manifest the belief of the faithful in the teachings of this great sage, but will also help to increase tourist attendance in the state.
Born in Kerala, Adi Shankaracharya was an 8th century Indian mystic and philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and made a significant contribution to the unification of Hinduism by establishing four mathas (monastic institutions) through the ‘India. The Uttarakhand Himalayas is of great significance in the context of Adi Shankaracharya, as it is said that he took samadhi here in Kedarnath. It was in Uttarakhand that he established one of the four mathas at Jyotir Math here in Chamoli district and also established the idol at Badrinath.