Who is “Arun Yogiraj”? Whose Idol of Ram Lalla is Selected for Ram Mandir in Ayodhya

The grand Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is set to open on January 22nd, 2024, and renowned sculptor Arun Yogiraj has carved the idol of Lord Ram for the temple from Karnataka. This blog highlights the background and achievements of the man behind the revered idol –

Arun Yogiraj, a renowned sculptor from Mysuru, Karnataka, has been chosen to sculpt the idol of ‘Ram Lalla’ for the grand Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The idol will be installed at the temple on January 22, 2024 during the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony.

Arun Yogiraj with his scultption of Ram Lalla's ido that will be used in Ayodhya Temple

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi announced on New Year that the distinguished Karnataka sculptor Arun Yogiraj will craft the revered image for the monumental Ram temple. This decision comes days after the temple trust in Ayodhya finalized the idol of Lord Ram Lalla for the consecration ceremony known as “Pran Pratishtha.”

Highlighting Karnataka’s significance as the home to a grand Hanuman temple and its belief as the birthplace of the deity, Joshi emphasized the choice of a sculptor from the state for the Ram Temple’s idol as an “illustration of the inseparable connection between Rama and Hanuman.”

"Wherever Rama is, Hanuman is present. The selection of the idol for the Prana Pratishtapana of Lord Rama in Ayodhya is now confirmed. Our esteemed sculptor, Mr. @yogiraj_arun, has crafted the idol of Lord Rama, and it will be installed in Ayodhya," the Union Minister announced from his official handle on X on Monday.

Background and Early Life

  • Born in Mysuru to a family of sculptors, Arun Yogiraj is a fifth-generation sculptor carrying on his family’s generations-old tradition.
  • He was inspired to take up sculpting by his father, Yogiraj, and grandfather, Basavanna Shilpi, who were patronized by the royal family of Mysuru.
  • Despite pursuing an MBA degree and working briefly in the corporate sector, his passion for sculpting led Arun to take it up as a full-time vocation in 2008.
Arun Yogiraj standing next to statue of God he sculpted independently in 2006 at age of 17
Arun started sculpting at age 11, and this was sculpted independently by him in 2006

Major Works

  • Subhash Chandra Bose statue (Bengaluru) – A magnificent 30-foot bronze statue depicting Netaji in a marching pose. Took 14 months to complete.
  • Adi Shankaracharya statue (Kedarnath) – A 12-foot statue carved out of granite in 9 months. Unveiled by PM Modi in 2021.
  • Hanuman statue (Mysuru) – A 21-feet monolithic statue of Hanuman sculpted using special black granite.
  • Various temples idols – Numerous idols and murtis of gods and goddesses were commissioned by temples across South India.

Ram Mandir Idol

  • Arun worked tirelessly for 6-7 months to sculpt the idol of Ram Lalla for Ayodhya’s Ram temple.
  • He focused on capturing the divine form of the child Lord Ram as depicted in Hindu scriptures.
  • The temple trust unanimously approved the idol for its adherence to traditional iconographic norms.
  • Arun considers being chosen for this prestigious project his biggest achievement so far.

Recognition and Honors

Arun’s work has earned him widespread recognition and honors including:

  • National Award from the Government of India
  • Award from United Nations for sculpture on world peace
  • Honors from Chief Minister of Karnataka
  • Felicitation by Mysuru District Authority

Sculpting Philosophy

  • Arun emphasizes focusing on the divinity and spiritual aspects of his sculptures, especially idols of gods.
  • He works with devotion, sometimes up to 14 hours a day, to perfectly capture the form as described in the scriptures.
  • Bringing people joy and serving society through his art is what motivates Arun.
  • Arun started sculpting at the age of 11 and made his first idol in 2006 at the age of 17 by himself.

Being chosen to sculpt the idol for the historic Ram Mandir highlights Arun Yogiraj’s mastery of traditional sculpting techniques. It has brought his family’s generations-old legacy to the forefront. Through his profound spirituality and unwavering dedication to his craft, Arun has cemented his reputation as one of India’s leading sculptors.

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