Inauguration of 108-foot-tall statue of Adi Shankaracharya
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated a 108-foot-tall statue of the 8th-century spiritual leader, Adi Shankaracharya on 21st September. This significant event occurred amidst political dynamics and is an evident to the promotion of Sanatan Dharma and cultural unity.
The Statue of Oneness
The ‘Statue of Oneness,’ conceived six years ago, portrays Adi Shankaracharya as a 12-year old child during his visit to Omkareshwar. Omkareshwar is renowned for being one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines, considered the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva.
Symbolism and Significance
Adi Shankaracharya is known for his pivotal role in reviving Sanatan Dharma and advocating Advaita Vedanta philosophy. The status symbolizes his early years when he visited Omkareshwar, a place steeped in spiritual significance.
Construction and Materials
Weighing an impressive 100 tonnes, the status was brought to life by a dedicated team of Indian artists, sculptors and engineers. Metal casting took place in China’s Nanchang city, with the components subsequently shipped to Mumbai. The idol itself is crafted from bronze, containing 88% copper, 4% zinc and 8% tin. Its internal structure is constructed from high-quality steels, ensuring its stability.
The ‘Advait Lok’ Project
During the inauguration event of statue, Chief Minister Chouhan laid the foundation stone for ‘Advait Lok,’ a project valued at Rs. 2,200 crore. This project will house a museum and is situated on Omkareshwar Mandhata Hill, overlooking the serene Narmada River.
Innovative Museum Features
The museum within Advait Lok promises an enriching experience for visitors. It will feature a 3D holdgram projection gallery, nine exhibition galleries, an indoor wide-screen theatre and a unique cultural boat ride called ‘Advaita Narmada Vihar.’ This boat ride will take visitors on an immersive audio-visual journey through the techniques of Shankaracharya.
Inspiration and Artistic Vision
The design for the statue was conceived by painter Vasudeo Kamath, who drew inspiration from Raja Ravi Verma’s depiction of Shankaracharya. Kamath meticulously studied the faces of 11-12 year-old Kerala boys and the historical context of that era, including clothing styles, architectural designs and geographical features.
The realization of this monumental project was a collaborative effort. After Kamath’s painting was approved in 2018, a competition was organized and sculptor Bhagwan Rampure was chosen to bring the vision to life. Consultation with priests from various regions, including Kerala, ensured that the statue stayed true to its spiritual knowledge.
Durability and Stability
Addressing concerns about durability, sculptor Rampure explained that the statue’s construction with metal ensures it can withstand high wind speeds. Unlike the Saptarishi idols made of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) in the Mahakal Lok Corridor, this statue’s robust metal construction guarantees its stability.