Telangana’s 216-feet statue of Sri Ramanujacharya to be completed by March
Even as Gujarat gears up to enter the record books with the Statue of Unity, an upcoming 597-feet representation of India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the banks of the Narmada, Telangana is all set to unveil a sculptural achievement of its own.
The southern state will soon boast of the world’s second-tallest statue in a seated position – depicting Vaishnavite saint Sri Ramanujacharya – on a sprawling 40-acre plot of land at the Sri Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swamy ashram in Muchintal village.
The 216-feet image, called the Statue of Equality, and related structures on the premises are fast nearing completion. “The first phase of the project – comprising the main statue of Sri Ramanujacharya, the parikrama and the temple – will be completed by March 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed in principle to unveil the statue in April,” Devanatha Swamy, a disciple of Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, said.
According to Devanatha Swamy, the Rs 1,000-crore project was taken up as part of the Shasrabdi (1,000th anniversary) celebrations of Sri Ramanucharya, who was born in 1017 and spent a major part of his 120-year life span propagating the Hindu philosophy of Vishishtadwaita (qualified non-dualism). “It was Ramanujacharya who fought against discrimination in the name of caste, colour and creed, and propounded that the Almighty exists in all living beings. That is why we decided to name this structure the Statue of Equality,” he said.
The spiritual leader said the 216-ft statue of Sri Ramanujacharya – made of panchaloha (an alloy of gold, silver, copper, brass and tin/lead) – is the second-tallest statue in a seated position, the first being a 302-feet image of Lord Buddha in Bangkok. “We could have constructed a taller statue, but the Airport Authority of India would clear only up to 216 feet (due to security concerns). The statue is located near the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on the outskirts of Hyderabad,” he added.
The statue was constructed by the Aerosun Corporation in China before being shipped to Hyderabad in July. A team of 60 professionals assembled the statue. “The cost of the statue itself is Rs 100 crore, but we had to pay Rs 32 crore as import duty to the government,” said Devanatha Swamy.
DNV Prasad Sthapathi, the chief sculptor of the project, told Hindustan Times that the main statue would be placed on a huge lotus built on a three-storied 54-feet structure called the Bhadravedi. “The ground floor, spread over an area of 63,444 square feet, will feature a dark ride show that provides glimpses of Ramanujacharya’s life and philosophy as visitors are taken around in an electric vehicle,” he said.
The second floor will have a temple for Sri Ramanuja spread over nearly 30,0000 square feet, complete with a 120 kg gold statue meant for daily worship. The third floor will house a Vedic digital library and research centre encompassing 14,700 square feet.
The Bhadravedi will be surrounded by 108 Divya Desa Kshetras (Vaishnavite temples) built in stone. A Chinese colour fountain with a revolving mini statute of Ramanujacharya is also being constructed on the premises, said Sthapathi.
Devanatha Swamy said as much as Rs 350 crore has already been spent on the project so far. “Donations are pouring in from every part of the world. We are sure that Muchintal will turn into one of the biggest tourist destinations and pilgrim centres in the world,” he added.
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