Astonishing 108 Foot Adi Shankaracharya Statue in Omkareshwar

Adi Shankaracharya Statue

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan Unveils 108-Foot Adi Shankaracharya Statue in Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh, Marking a Historic Moment

Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh – On September 21, 2023, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh graced a momentous occasion by unveiling the towering 108-foot ‘Statue of Oneness’ dedicated to the revered Adi Shankaracharya. This monumental event took place on the banks of the majestic Narmada River in Omkareshwar, situated approximately 260 kilometers from the state capital, Bhopal. The statue’s inauguration came to fruition after six years of meticulous planning and execution.

Adi Shankaracharya Statue
image credit: indianexpress

Adi Shankaracharya, a luminary in Hindu religious history, is celebrated for his instrumental role in rejuvenating the essence of Sanatan Dharma in ancient India through his profound teachings and spirited debates with erudite scholars.

Crafted with great precision, the statue stands as a testament to artistic prowess and engineering marvel, weighing a staggering 100 tons and resting atop a lofty 75-foot platform. Fashioned primarily from bronze, it comprises 88% copper, 4% zinc, and 8% tin, while its internal framework boasts high-quality steel.

Adi Shankaracharya Statue

In a moment of cultural significance, Chief Minister Chouhan also laid the foundation stone for ‘Advait Lok,’ a monumental project with an estimated budget of Rs. 2,200 crore, which will be developed in the picturesque surroundings of Omkareshwar. Notably, this endeavor unfolds against the backdrop of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) championing the cause of Sanatan Dharma, prompted by Tamil Nadu minister Udhaynidhi Stalin’s recent contentious remarks on the subject.

Adi Shankaracharya Statue

The BJP has accused the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) of undermining Sanatan Dharma following Stalin’s provocative statements two weeks ago. In a synchronized effort, BJP’s national president, JP Nadda, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during their recent visits to the state, vocally endorsed the sanctity of Sanatan Dharma, casting doubts on the intentions of the INDIA coalition.

Adi Shankaracharya Statue

An official from the Madhya Pradesh tourism department shared, “Advait Lok, sprawling across 11.5 hectares of Omkar Mountain, is projected to be completed by 2026. Additionally, the Acharya Shankar International Advaita Vedanta Institute is set to find its home here, with an approved budget of ₹1535 crores sanctioned by the state cabinet.”

Adi Shankaracharya’s legacy is deeply ingrained in the history of Madhya Pradesh, which hosts two of the 12 jyotirlingas, sacred places mentioned in Adi Shankaracharya’s Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram, according to scholars.

Chief Minister Chouhan, accompanied by his wife, Sadhna Singh Chouhan, performed traditional rituals at the site, underscoring the profound cultural significance of Adi Guru Shankaracharya Maharaj’s contributions. He emphasized, “Adi Guru Shankaracharya Maharaj tirelessly worked to bridge cultural divides across the country. His efforts were instrumental in disseminating the wisdom of the Vedas to the masses, and he established four monasteries in different corners of the nation, a unifying force that resonates in India’s cultural fabric even today.”

Chouhan further reflected, “Shankaracharya embarked on an arduous journey of over 1,600 kilometers through dense forests, commencing from Kerala, to seek his Guru at Omkareshwar. His subsequent journey to Varanasi symbolized the cultural unification of our nation.”

The Chief Minister expressed his commitment to nurturing this tradition of knowledge and ensuring it thrives for future generations. In addition to the imposing statue, plans are underway to construct ‘Ekatmadham’ at the site, with the foundation stone soon to be laid.

This ambitious endeavor traces its origins back to May 2017, when Chief Minister Chouhan unveiled his vision to erect the world’s tallest Adi Shankaracharya statue, complemented by a museum and an International Vedant Institute at Omkareshwar. To materialize this dream, the government launched the ‘Ekatm Yatra’ campaign during 2017-18, spanning the state to collect metal from 27,000 gram panchayats for the statue’s construction.

Dr. Hitesh Bajpai, the spokesperson for the state BJP, emphasized that Adi Shankaracharya and his statue transcend mere political concerns, embodying a matter of faith. He explained that the controversy surrounding Sanatan Dharma was unforeseen over six years ago when the project was initiated. Bajpai asserted that the statue itself stands as a potent response to the Congress alliance (INDIA)’s parochial mindset, which they allege is working against Sanatan Dharma.

In response, KK Mishra, the state Congress media in-charge, refuted allegations that the Kamal Nath government had obstructed the statue’s progress. He pointed out that the statue’s completion and unveiling at this juncture attested to the absence of any hindrance. Mishra further recalled Chief Minister Chouhan’s pledge to install an idol of Goddess Sita in Sri Lanka a decade ago, expressing disappointment that the BJP government had not acted upon this commitment. He called for an apology from Chouhan for this unfulfilled promise.

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