A Master Sculptor, Arun Yogiraj Journey: Unveiling the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya
Legacy of Artistry in Agrahara, Mysuru
As the eagerly awaited ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony of the Ram Lalla idol unfolds in Ayodhya, sculptor Arun Yogiraj, the craftsman behind this masterpiece, expresses his profound gratitude, proclaiming himself as “the luckiest person on earth.” Arun, a distinguished sculptor thrust into the limelight, hails from a lineage of accomplished sculptors, with his roots tracing back to Agrahara, Mysuru in Karnataka.
Generational Artistry: Basavanna Shilpi and Royal Patronage
Arun, aged 41, is the torchbearer of a family tradition spanning five generations of sculptors. His grandfather, Basavanna Shilpi, was a revered sculptor who enjoyed the patronage of the King of Mysore, adding a touch of royal significance to the family’s artistic legacy.
From MBA to Master Sculptor: Arun’s Unique Journey
Despite his family’s rich artistic heritage, Arun did not initially embrace sculpting as a full-time profession. After completing his master’s degree in business administration, he entered the corporate world. However, in 2008, Arun made a pivotal decision to follow his passion for sculpting full time. Married to Vijetha, he is part of a family that includes two siblings.
A Portfolio of Cultural Icons: Arun’s Noteworthy Sculptures
Skill and dedication of Arun Yogiraj have been showcased in several prominent sculptures of cultural importance. Notably, he sculpted the impressive 30 feet statue of Subhash Chandra Bose, positioned behind the Amar Jawan Jyoti near the India Gate. This endeavor, initiated to honor Bose’s contributions, earned Arun recognition from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Honors from Prime Minister: Sculpting the Legacy
Acknowledged by the BJP government, Arun received appreciation from Prime Minister Modi for his artistic endeavors. During the installation of the Bose statue, Arun even presented a miniature two-feet tall statue of Bose to the Prime Minister.
Diverse Artistic Endeavors: From Kedarnath to Mysuru
Beyond the Bose statue, Arun’s hands have crafted a 12 feet tall statue of Adi Shankaracharya in Kedarnath, inaugurated in 2021. Weighing 35 tonnes, this statue stands at the seer’s samadhi stal, redeveloped after the devastating floods of 2013. Arun’s portfolio extends to include a 21 feet monolithic stone sculpture of Hanuman in KR Nagar, Mysore.
Versatility in Materials and Styles: Arun’s Diverse Works
Arun’s repertoire features a 15 feet monolithic white marble stone sculpture of Dr B. R. Ambedkar, a 10 feet monolithic white marble stone sculpture of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and a 15 feet monolithic white marble stone sculpture of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar with a pedestal in Mysuru. Additionally, he has sculpted an 11 feet monolithic modern art stone sculpture, conceptualized as “Creation of Creation,” at the University of Mysore.
Beyond Borders: Sculpting for the Nation
Arun’s contributions extend to bronze statues, such as the one of Sri U.R. Rao installed at ISRO, Bangalore, a five-feet idol of Garuda in Mysore, and a seven-feet tall idol of Yoganarasimha Swamy at KR Nagar. His sculpting prowess is evident in numerous statues honoring Sir M. Vishveshwaraiah and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
Spiritual and Divine Creations: Sculptures in Temples
Arun’s artistic expressions can be found in various temples, where he has sculpted images of Panchamukhi Ganapathi, MahaVishnu, Buddha, Nandi, Swami Shivbala Yogi, Swami Shivakumara, and Banashankari.
Pran Pratishtha in Ayodhya : A Culmination of Artistic Dreams
As Arun arrives at the Ram temple in Ayodhya, he reflects on his journey, stating, “I feel I am the luckiest person on Earth and also count on the blessings of my ancestors, family members, and Ram Lalla…sometimes I feel I am in a dream world.”