It will come up at a memorial near Grand Anicut

Ten months after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced a memorial for Chola King Karikalan, who built the Grand Anicut (kallanai), the 14-ft statue of the king on his elephant is ready for installation.

The bronze statue weighs between two and three tonnes. The image for the memorial was provided by the State government, and created by Chennai-based sculptor Kishore Nagappa.

In January this year, Ms. Jayalalithaa, while inaugurating a memorial for Colonel John Pennycuick, the British engineer who built the century-old Mullaperiyar Dam, said a similar memorial would be created for the ancient Tamil king near the Grand Anicut.

“The bronze statue depicts the king astride an elephant and pointing to the kallanai. The height of the elephant is 8 ft and the king sitting on it adds another 6 ft,” said Mr. Nagappa, whose father Jayaram Nagappa created the statues of Veerama Munivar and former Chief Minister Kamaraj on the Marina, and Swami Vivekananda at Vivekananda Illam. Mr. Nagappa used ‘sandwich moulding,’ a process that is normally employed to create larger-than-life statues. “First, we create a clay model and this is transferred to a plaster of Paris mould. Then, we create a sandwich model by laying wax in between the two layers of moulds. After allowing the mould to dry, we heat it to melt the wax and draw it out. This process leaves a cavity inside the mould,” he said.

Finally, the important process of pouring the molten bronze into the cavity begins. After allowing it to cool, the statue is chiselled to perfection. Mr. Nagappa said normally big statues are made in segments and welded together.

“While bronze images of Gods are solid pieces, statues are made with hollow insides. Handling and putting up a solid 14-ft statue will be a Himalayan task,” he said.