Ugadi Puraskaram for Dhyana Buddha maker

When this 55-year old Joint Director of Social Welfare R. Mallikarjuna Rao conceived a giant statue of Buddha seated in a meditative posture on the banks of River Krishna at Amaravati in the year 2002, little did he realise that the statue would be a crowning glory in the new capital region of Andhra Pradesh.

Standing tall at a height of 125 feet, the gigantic Dhyana Buddha statue is the most significant work in modern times and a symbol of richness and glory of Amaravati art. The efforts of Mr. Rao in sculpting a giant Buddha statue have been recognised by the State government. He would be receiving Hamsa Ugadi Puraskaram from Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at Ananthavaram on Saturday.

“I was inspired by the spiritual virtuosity of the Mahastupa at Amaravati, India’s greatest architectural achievement during 150-200 AD. I wanted to recreate the magnificence of the Amaravati School of Art and conceived a giant statue of Buddha,” Mr. Mallikarjuna Rao told The Hindu on Friday. The Guntur district administration provided 4.5 acre of land and through various grants by the government and through money raised by selling his paintings, Mr. Rao raised Rs.1.50 crore. He began the work in 2004. The structure though raised in concrete is embellished with sculptures from the Amaravati School of Art. Mr Rao used a knife to scrape the shapes and chisel them. The statue stands on massive Lotus pandal supported by eight pillars symbolising the Buddha’s Eight-Fold Path. The area is divided into four zones depicting the four noble truths. The five ayaka pillars made of sand stone symbolise the five stages of life. Mr. Rao had also included a souvenir shop, a book shop and a guesthouse overlooking the river in his project. Inside the statue, is a three-layered museum which has reliefs of famous sculptures of Amaravati Art including events associated with enlightenment of Buddha under a Bodhi tree and all other events in his life.

Mr. Rao had taken care to engrave the delicate features of face, limbs on the figures inside the museum.

I was inspired by the spiritual virtuosity of the Mahastupa at Amaravat. I wanted to recreate the magnificence of the Amaravati School of Art and conceived a giant statue of Buddha

R. Mallikarjuna Rao

Joint Director of Social Welfare


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