While the black stone idol of Ram Lalla carved by Mysuru sculptor Arun Yogiraj has made it to the sanctum sanctorum of the grand temple at Ayodhya, two other idols under consideration will now be placed in other parts of the temple. One of them is a white marble idol carved by Rajasthan’s Satyanarayan Pandey. NDTV has accessed a photograph of this idol, which could not make it to the temple’s ‘garbha griha’ but will be placed elsewhere in the Ram Temple.
The white marble idol is currently with the trust. It shows Ram Lalla holding a golden bow and arrow. Behind the deity is an arch-like structure that contains smaller sculptures depicting various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The idol shows remarkable craftsmanship as jewellery and clothes adorning the deity are chiselled out of marble. The dimensions of the idol are in line with those laid down by the trust overseeing the construction of the temple.
The 51-inch black granite idol that now adorns the temple’s sanctum sanctorum has been carved out of a rock 2.5 billion years old, National Institute of Rock Mechanics HS Venkatesh has told NDTV.
“The rock is highly durable and resistant to climatic variation and will sustain thousands of years in this subtropical zone with minimum maintenance,” he has said.
The rock used for the idol was brought all the way from Karnataka and was reportedly excavated from Gujjegowdanapura in Mysuru. According to news agency PTI, a local contractor drew the temple trust’s attention to the rock’s quality after it was found during a levelling exercise on agricultural land.
In Ayodhya yesterday for the ‘pran pratistha’ ceremony, sculptor Yogiraj said it was the best day of his life. “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 was Him who chose me for the auspicious task. I spent sleepless nights working on the idol with precision, but it was all worth it. I feel I am the luckiest person on Earth and today is the best day of my life,” he told PTI.
Besides Mr Yogiraj and Mr Pandey, Ganesh Bhatt from Karnataka had also carved a sculpture that was considered for the sanctum sanctorum. That too will now be placed somewhere in the temple.
Large parts of the temple are yet to be constructed, including the first floor that will house the idol of Raja Ram, with those of Sita, Laxman and Hanuman.