DEHRADUN: The 12-feet tall statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, which weighs 35 tonnes, has been made by Mysore-based sculptors from chlorite schist, a rock which is known to withstand rain, sunshine and harsh climate, tourism officials said on Wednesday.
The statue at the Kedarnath shrine premises has been polished with coconut water to bring out its shine , they added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil Shankaracharya’s statue on November 5. The event will be live-streamed to the 11 Jyotir Lingas, four maths (monastic institutions) and major Shiva temples, said chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
Adi Guru Shankaracharya samadhi was washed away in the 2013 floods. The new statue has been prepared with a special design under the reconstruction works of Kedarnath Dham. It has been built by excavating land just behind the Kedarnath temple and in the middle of the samadhi area, said officials.
Mysore sculptor Yogiraj Shilpi, with a legacy of five generations, completed the work on the new statue with help from his son, Arun. Yogiraj was contracted by the Prime Minister’s Office after a nationwide search. Yogiraj started work on making the statue in September 2020.
The Kerala-born Adi Shankaracharya was an 8th-century Indian spiritual leader and philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and made a significant contribution in unifying Hinduism by setting up four mathas (monastic institutions) across India. Uttarakhand’s Himalayas hold much significance in the context of Adi Shankaracharya as he is said to have taken samadhi here at Kedarnath.
It was also in Uttarakhand that he established one of the four mathas at Jyotir Math in Chamoli district and also installed an idol at Badrinath.
Tourism officials said both Centre and the state government have been on the same page on reconstructing Kedarnath Dham, a project that has been closely tracked by PM Narendra Modi. A total allocation of over ₹ 500 crore was approved and was allocated to be spent in phases for this reconstruction assignment, they added.
Uttarakhand tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said reconstruction works in Kedarnath would not have been possible without the vision of PM Modi. “We welcome his presence here soon. He will also be inaugurating the second phase works at Kedarnath.”
Secretary tourism Dilip Jawalkar said, “The samadhi of Shankaracharya was destroyed in the 2013 flash flood that hit Kedarnath area. I would like to thank PM Narendra Modi and Jindal Steel Works for their generous efforts towards rebuilding the monument.”