The 35feet tall stone sculpture of Hanuman was scooped out of Allagadda in Andhra Pradesh with great finesse and dexterity, and the giant statue is a testimony to the stellar stone carving tradition of Allagadda. The logistics worked with pinpoint accuracy as the mammoth sculpture was brought to Thrissur district after traversing 750kms in four days. Now, the statue literally stands tall in front of the Pushpagiri Agrahara Seetharama Swamy Temple at Poonkunnam in Thrissur. The sculpture will be officially unveiled by the end of April.
The onus of carving out Hanuman statue from a huge single stone was bestowed on distinguished sculptor V Subramaniam Acharyulu of Sri Bharathi Silpakala Mandir. Usually, huge stones are broken up into smaller pieces and transported to make sculptures as the process of shifting the finished product without any damage is an uphill task. But for the Hanuman statue, which has a total height of 55feet including 20feet tall pedestal, the creators had to think outside the box.
As there were numerous challenges in transporting the gigantic stone meant to make sculpture, an appropriate place with the right stone to carve out the statue was found in Allagadda. An ideal location was chosen after taking into consideration whether it is accessible by large trucks and cranes as the giant statue, once it is completed, had to be transported from there.
Hundreds of people toiled hard
After the mammoth natural stone was hand-picked, the artisans knuckled down to chisel the Hanuman sculpture with exemplary skill and expertise. Hundreds of people sweated it out for long hours to make the Hanuman statue a reality. Once the work was completed, the colossal statue was transferred onto a truck after offering prayers, and the long and slow journey to Poonkunnam began.
The Hanuman statue is carved in such a way that the deity showers blessings with the right hand and holds the signature mace close to the legs with the left hand. During its 750km journey from Allagadda, people in towns and villages received the statue with great fervor. When the vehicle carrying the statue reached Mannuthy, which is an entry point to Thrissur city, a large procession welcomed the popular deity to the city.
Later, the sculpture was taken to the Seetharama Swamy Temple in Poonkunnam and a crane shifted the gigantic statue from the truck in one night. The much-awaited statue is being installed by the governing body of the Seetharama Swamy temple as part of the ‘kumbabishekam’ celebrations and the cost is borne by the devotees.
The devotees can see the Hanuman statue, which is South India’s largest single-stone statue, from the last week of April. Though the sculpture has not been unveiled, devotees are visiting the Seetharama Swamy temple in droves. It is worth noting that the temple proudly owns one of the biggest golden chariots in the country.
A floral welcome
When the massive sculpture was finally brought to the agrahara, women and children gave a floral welcome to the Hanuman statue. The procession passed through various places amidst showers of flowers of all hues. Many paid obeisance to the statue and offered flowers to people who transported the sculpture to Thrissur. District Collector V R Krishna Teja received the statue by garlanding it at the Cherukulangara Temple in Mannuthy.
The statue reached Poonkunnam after passing through Swaraj Round, MG Road and West Fort in Thrissur city.
It is noteworthy that poojas won’t be performed before the sculpture but there would be laser shows depicting the entire story of Ramayana at the statue every night.
The trial laser shows are being conducted to tie up loose ends, if any. A special music is also being composed for the laser shows, say Kumbabishekam committee members T S Ramakrishnan, T S Kalyanaraman, T A Balaraman, T S Pattabiraman, T S Anantharaman and D Moorthy.
Two idols for Lord Rama and Seetha
The Seetharama Swamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and Seetha, and separate idols of both are consecrated on the same pedestal. In most of the temples dedicated to Lord Rama and Seetha, the latter is seen sitting on the lap of Lord Rama.
But at the Seetharama Swamy temple, Lord Rama and Seetha have separate equal idols that are in standing position. It is also worth noting that even in the appellation of the temple, Seetha’s name comes first and that’s the reason why many people, even devotees from Tamil Nadu, offer prayers at the temple to enter into wedlock.
You could only see the idol of Lord Rama while standing in front of the ‘kodimaram’ (flagstaff) and the devotees have to enter the place of worship to pay obeisance to the idol of Seetha.
Took two days to install statue
It took two days to install the statue that was carved out of stone at Allagadda. Earlier, Allagadda was part of the Kurnool district but later migrated to the newly-formed Nandyal district. A peep into the history would reveal that Allagadda was under the Vijayanagara Empire for 310 years from 1336 and during this period many temples were constructed in Allagadda.
The Hanuman statue was raised onto the pedestal under the watchful eyes of the experts from Andhra Pradesh.