Ayodhya, Jan 16: The shyam rang (dark coloured) Ram Lalla idol sculpted on ‘Krishna Shila’ (black stone) by Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj has been selected for installation in the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Champat Rai, Secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, said 11 of the total 15 members of the Trust chose the idol, based on the “impression it left”. He said the old idol would also be installed in the sanctum sanctorum.
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“Arun Yogiraj, a resident of Mysuru, hails from generations of sculptors… You cannot imagine the kind of life he has lived to sculpt the idol… He has not kept his phone with himself for 15 days and did not speak to his children for 15-20 days at a stretch. He was so engrossed in his work. His idol has been selected and everyone appreciated it,” Rai said at a press conference in Ayodhya.
Yogiraj was among three sculptors shortlisted to carve idols depicting a five-year-old 51-inch-tall Ram Lalla (child Ram) in standing form. While two idols, sculpted by Yogiraj and Ganesh Bhatt, were carved in dark stone, the third one by Satyanarayan Pandey is pure white.
Rai said on Monday that the other two idols would be given “due respect”.
Before the official announcement, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, in a social media post earlier this month, had said the idol carved by Yogiraj would be installed.
“The worship of the present idol has been going on for the last 70 years and it will be seated in the sanctum sanctorum of the original temple along with the new idol. The worship of the idol will continue even after January 22, in the same manner as it has been done so far,” Rai said.
According to Rai, the new idol, which weighs 150-200 kgs, will enter the new temple premises on January 17 and will be installed in the sanctum sanctorum the next day. The rituals in the run-up to the “Pran Pratishtha” (consecration ceremony) will begin from Tuesday and will continue till January 21, he said.
The idol will also be part of a ritual called ‘adhivas’, during which the ‘jal niwas’, ‘fal niwas’, ‘anna niwas’, ‘aushadi niwas’ and ‘ghee niwas’ for the idol will be done, he said. The Ram Temple “Pran Pratishtha” on January 22 will begin at 12:20 pm, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Chief of the Trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das will be among those present at the ceremony.
The ceremony will also be attended by all the trustees of the temple trust, seers of about 150 sects and over 500 people associated with the construction of the temple.
While 121 acharyas will conduct the rituals under Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid, the lead Acharya would be Laxmikant Dixit of Varanasi.
Yogiraj hails from a family which has been sculpting idols for five generations – it once worked for the royal Mysuru family. He is popular for having carved the 30-foot statue of Subhas Chandra Bose, which is placed in the canopy behind Amar Jawan Jyoti near India Gate in New Delhi, and the 12-foot-tall statue of Adi Shankaracharya in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand.
In Karnataka, his mother, Saraswathi, said the family was elated about the selection of his idol. “He was not expecting his idol to be selected. He told me that he would be happy if any idol was finalised as all the sculptors had worked very hard. He is very happy that the efforts he put in for six months have borne fruit,” she said.
Saraswathi said she was yet to see the idol. “We may see it in the coming days,” she said, adding, “He would have been happier if his father was alive. His father was very proud of his achievements.”