CM Chouhan unveils 108-ft tall Adi Shankaracharya statue in MP’s Omkareshwar
Adi Shankaracharya, as per Hindu religion scholars, is credited with restoring the glory of Sanatan Dharma in ancient India with his preaching and debate with scholar
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday unveiled the 108-feet tall ‘Statue of Oneness’ of Adi Shankaracharya on the bank of the Narmada river at Omkareshwar, approximately 260 km from the state capital Bhopal, six years after it was conceptualised.
The statue weighs 100 tons and has been installed on a 75 feet high platform. It is made up of bronze that contains 88% copper, 4% zinc and 8% tin. The statue internal structure is made-up of high-quality steel.
At the event, Chouhan also laid the foundation stone for Rs.2,200 crore ‘Advait Lok’ at Omkareshwar which comes at the time ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to make Tamil Nadu minister Udhaynidhi Stalin’s statement on Sanatan Dharma a poll issue in the state.
The BJP has accused the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) of working against Sanatan Dharma since Stalin made the controversial remarks a fortnight ago.
BJP national president JP Nadda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the tone of the ruling party’s campaign with their speeches on Sanatan Dharma during their recent respective visits to the state. Both claimed that the INDIA block would finish Sanatam Dharma.
“It will be ready by 2026 in 11.5 hectares of land on Omkar Mountain. Acharya Shankar International Advaita Vedanta Institute is also being established here. A budget of ₹1535 crores has been approved for it by the cabinet of MP,” said an official of MP tourism department.
Adi Shankaracharya, as per Hindu religion scholars, is credited with restoring the glory of Sanatan Dharma in ancient India with his preaching and debate with scholars. He was said to have met his Guru at Omkareshwar in Khandwa district after he had left home at the age of 12.
Madhya Pradesh has two of the 12 jyotirlingas situated at different places in the country that are mentioned in Adi Shankaracharya’s Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram, according to scholars.
Chouhan performed rituals with his wife, Sadhna Singh Chouhan, at the site and said, “Adi Guru Shankaracharya Maharaj worked to connect the country culturally. He worked to spread the essence of the Vedas to the common people. He also made four monasteries in four corners of the country. This worked to keep India culturally united. Because of that India is united today.”
Chouhan said that Shankaracharya walked over 1,600 kilometres through forests from Kerala and found a Guru at Omkareshwar and then moved to Varanasi and united the entire country culturally.
“The tradition of knowledge should not end from there and the coming generations should also continue to get the knowledge. Therefore, not only is the divine statue being installed there but we are also going to build Ekatmadham there. Its foundation stone will be laid,” the CM said.
In May 2017, Chouhan unveiled his plan to erect the tallest statue of Adi Shankaracharya in the world and set up a museum and an International Vedant Institute at Omkareshwar.
In 2017-18 the government carried out Ekatm Yatra across the state to collect metal from 27,000 gram panchayats for the construction of the statue.
State BJP spokesperson Dr Hitesh Bajpai said, “Adi Shankaracharya and his statue are not an election issue for us. It’s a matter of faith. How could have we known more than six years back that there would be such a controversy over Sanatan Dharma now? But, yes, the statue itself gives a befitting reply to the parochial mindset of the Congress alliance (INDIA) which is working against Sanatan Dharma.”
Bajpai further accused the Congress in Madhya Pradesh of being anti-Sanatan and accused the former chief minister Kamal Nath’s government of stalling the statue work.
Responding, state Congress media in-charge KK Mishra said the then Kamal Nath government never came in the way of the statue. This was the reason, he said, why the statue was constructed and unveiled now, he added.
He said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced an idol of Goddess Sita to be installed in Sri Lanka about 10 years back but the BJP government didn’t do anything in this regard. Chouhan must apologize to people for his false promise.