Ayodhya: Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj, who chiselled the 'Ram Lalla' idol consecrated in the newly constructed temple in Ayodhya, on Monday, says he considers himself the luckiest person on the earth and believes that its Lord Ram who chose him for the task.
"I have always felt that Lord Ram has been shielding me and my family from all the bad times and I strongly believe that it is him, who chose me for the auspicious task," Yogiraj, who has received effusive praise for his work, told PTI.
A fifth-generation sculptor, he was among the invitees to the grand consecration ceremony here.
"I spent sleepless nights working on the idol with precision but it was all worth it. I feel I am the luckiest person on the earth and today is the best day of my life,” an excited "I learnt the art of sculpting from my father. He would have been very proud to see my idol here today," he said.
While it was a proud moment for him to witness the historic event in person, his family back in Mysuru witnessed the ceremony live on TV.
"He (Yogiraj) had many sleepless nights thinking and concentrated on making the Ram Lalla idol. There were days when we hardly spoke, and he hardly gave time to the family. All this is now compensated by this great news," his wife Vijeta had told PTI last week.
"The stone was very hard, so hard that its pointed flake pricked into his eye and it was removed through an operation. Even during the pain he did not stop and continued with the work," she said.
An MBA from the University of Mysore, Arun Yogiraj trained for six months in the HR Department of a private company.
"But I listened to my inner voice and left the private sector job and returned to Mysuru to carry forward the family tradition,” he said.
Yogiraj had earlier sculpted the 12-foot-tall idol of Adi Shankaracharya, which has been placed in Kedarnath, and the statue of Subhas Chandra Bose which has been installed near India Gate in Delhi.
The 21 feet tall Hanuman statue at Chunchanakatte in Mysore district, 15 feet tall statue of Dr B R Ambedkar, a white amritashila statue of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in Mysore, six feet tall monolithic statue of Nandi, six feet tall statue of Banashankari Devi and a 4.5 feet tall white Amrita Shila statue of the King of Mysore Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar are among the idols sculpted by him.
According to a UGC-emeritus professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Mysore, the idol carved by Yogiraj, which is now gracing the sanctum sanctorum of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, has been sculpted from a three-billion-year-old rock.
"Based on extensive geological, petrological, and geochronological studies carried out by the Department of Earth Science, for more than three decades, it has been found that the rock used to carve the idol of Sri Ram Lalla is the oldest rock from South India,” he said.
The azure-coloured Krishna Shile (black schist) was excavated from Gujjegowdanapura at Jayapura Hobli in H.D. Kote Taluk. It is a fine to medium-grained, sky-blue-coloured metamorphic rock and this type is generally called soapstone because of its smooth surface texture and is an ideal rock for sculptors to carve idols “Krishna Shile” was found while levelling the agricultural land of Ramdas (78) and a local contractor who assessed the quality of the stone drew the attention of the temple trustees at Ayodhya through his contacts.
On assessment, it was found to be of superior quality and was selected for sculpting the idol of Ram Lalla at Ayodhya.
Ramadas has now announced he will donate four 'guntas' of his land for the construction of a Ram temple at the site from where the stone was mined.
Meanwhile, special rituals for temple foundation laying were performed on Monday at the same spot where the black stone for the Ayodhya idol was found.
The rituals were performed at 6.30 am and were attended by Chamundeshwari MLA GT Deve Gowda and community leaders of the village and surrounding areas. Yogiraj has also been requested to prepare an idol for the temple when it is constructed.
Rama Lalla's idols were made by three sculptors - Ganesh Bhatt, Arun Yogiraj and Satyanarayan Pandey. The temple trust had said that of the three idols, one will be placed in the sanctum sanctorum, while the remaining two will be kept in other parts of the Ram Mandir.