Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony marking Lord Ram’s long-awaited return to Ayodhya after a span of 500 years. The unveiling of Ram Lalla’s visage, sculpted by Arun Yogiraj from Mysuru, left onlookers captivated, particularly by the innocence reflected in the eyes and the smile of the infant Lord Ram.
The smile on Ram Lalla’s face evoked varied descriptions, ranging from expressions of beauty and divinity to terms like ‘mandahasa’ and enchanting.
The inauguration of the Ram Mandir was a momentous occasion, accompanied by jubilant festivities. Yogiraj expressed profound gratitude, attributing the opportunity to divine selection by Lord Ram himself.
Crafting the Idol:
Vijetha outlined the criteria provided by the temple trust for Arun Yogiraj and two other contestants, GL Bhat and Satyanarayana Panday, which included a smiling face, a divine countenance, a depiction resembling a five-year-old, and a princely appearance.
She explained the initial step involved in sculpting, which entails sketching the design on paper.
Designing Facial Features:
Vijetha elaborated that the proportions of facial features were meticulously crafted in accordance with the Shilpa Shastra, an ancient Indian scripture governing traditional arts and architecture.
Yogiraj extensively studied human anatomy to ensure realism, consulting both Shilpa Shastra and anatomy books. He even observed children to capture the innocence and naturalness of their smiles.
The Captivating Smile:
Experts noted the roundish shape of the idol’s face, a characteristic common in South Indian sculptures, contrasting with sharper features prevalent in northern sculptures.
Historian and author Vikram Sampath lauded the beauty of Ram Lalla, praising the curls, rosy cheeks, mystic smile, and divine aura, attributing the accomplishment to the skilled craftsmanship of Arun Yogiraj.
Reflecting on the arduous seven-month journey, Yogiraj revealed the emotional investment he had made, seeking feedback even from his own daughter, who likened the idol’s appearance to that of a child.
Significance of Idol’s Dimensions:
Vijetha elucidated that the height of 51 inches for the Ram Lalla idol was chosen for its scientific significance. This height ensures that the Sun’s rays fall precisely on Ramlalla’s forehead every year at noon on Ram Navami day, lending a unique feature to the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Choice of Krishnashila Stone:
Krishnashila stone was selected for its chemical composition, which renders it inert to acid, heat, and adverse weather conditions. This feature allows for the safe consumption of milk used during Abhishekam as ‘prasad’ without any detrimental effects on health.
Furthermore, the durability of Krishnashila stone ensures the idol’s longevity, capable of withstanding over a thousand years without deterioration. This high-quality stone is found predominantly in regions like HD Kote near Mysuru and Karkala in Uttar Kannada district, thereby establishing Mysuru as a hub for sculpting.
Despite utilizing modern software for visualization, Yogiraj relied on traditional methods, employing manual sculpting techniques involving hammers and chisels to bring the idol to life.