A deserving honour

Sculptor R. Mallikarjuna Rao. –

Sculptor R. Mallikarjuna Rao. –   | Photo Credit: Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar.

Ramesh Susarla

Sculptor of the unique 125-ft ‘Dhyana Buddha’ statue at Amaravathi chosen for State government’s Ugadi Puraskar

AMARAVATHI: R. Mallikarjuna Rao, sculptor of the unique Dhyana Buddha statue at Amaravathi in Guntur district, has been chosen for the Ugadi Puraskar (Shilpam) to be presented by the State government at the celebrations at Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad on Monday.

Crowd puller

Dream project of Deputy Director of Social Welfare Mallikarjuna Rao, the 125-feet statue can be seen from the Vijayawada - Hyderabad State Highway and is turning out to be a great crowd puller. The cement concrete structure was built on five acres at Dharanikota (twin town of Amaravathi) and it is unique as all sculpting art forms of Buddhist idols at 140 architectural sites in the country have been brought under one roof.

The project began as a brainchild of Mr. Mallikarjun with the active support of the then district Collector G. Jayalakshmi through the District Tourism Promotion Council.

Rs. 108 crore spent

But later the scope was expanded and till date about Rs.1.8 crore had been spent on the project that houses a dhyana centre with four circular ducts that contain 105 paintings depicting Buddha’s preachings in 24 chapters of ‘Dhammapadam’ in the underground.

At the ground level it has architectural panels on the walls in the circulating area with good natural ventilation as the breeze comes from the river alongside.

While Dalai Lama donated Rs. 50 lakh appreciating the work, proposals are in the advanced stage for the Department of Tourism to take over the entire project and complete it to make it one of the best tourist attractions in the Buddhist circuit in the country.

Kalachakra organised at a venue opposite the statue has been bringing in 5 lakh visitors every year.

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