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World’s Tallest Nataraja Statue

Why is it in the news?

A 27-foot-tall Nataraja statue, the world’s tallest of Lord Shiva’s dancing form, is on display in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, greeting G20 leaders.

More about the news

  • The statue is crafted from ashtadhatu, an eight-metal alloy, by sculptors from Swamimalai in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu and weighs approximately 18 tonnes.
  • Srikanda Sthapathy and his brothers crafted the statue, drawing inspiration from three revered Nataraja idols in Chidambaram, Konerirajapuram, and Thanjavur.
  • The lost-wax casting method, indigenous to the Chola era, was used to create the Bharat Mandapam Nataraja.
    • This method involves crafting a wax model, covering it with alluvial soil paste, burning away the wax to create a mould, and filling it with molten metal.

Historical Significance

  • The Cholas, who ruled much of peninsular India in the 9th-11th centuries AD, were great patrons of art and culture.
    • They constructed elaborate Shiva temples, and the Nataraja image, especially in bronze, gained cultural significance during their era.
  • Shiva, as Nataraja, is known as the Lord of Dance and is a complex deity embodying both creation and destruction.
    • His dance represents the rhythm of the universe, and his multiple arms hold symbolic items such as a drum and fire.
  • Nataraja’s dance is encircled by a flaming aureole, signifying the world.
    • His dreadlocks and dance movements symbolize the energy of his dance.

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