“You are hereby commissioned, by the King’s order, to build the largest monolithic statue of our Lord, Shri Ganapati, from the large boulder that is marked by the royal flag, on top of the Hemakunta hill. On completion of this order, which can not exceed three years, you will receive a grant of five villages and the adjoining fertile land from the royal court.”, read the King’s messenger from the order signed by the King himself, as the master sculptor Narasimhulu listened in disbelief.
The messenger went on, “You can employ your own artisans for this order, and all such artisans will be on the payrolls of the royal court. Should you fail to execute this order, this same order will be passed on to your elder son, and you will be convicted of disobeying the King’s order and will be tried of high treason.” That was almost 3 years back, and he had gladly accepted the offer, not that he had too many choices at that time. In all these days, the statue of Lord Ganapati was only half done. With the King’s deadline expiring only a fortnight later, there was no way the order could be executed now. The King had already gotten a temple built around the half-finished statue. And Narasimhulu could not afford even a minute mistake, by increasing the pace of the work.
Knowing he could never complete the order in time, Narasimhulu asked all the artisans to leave. He locked himself inside the temple with the half finsihed statue and decided to starve himself to death.
He prayed to Lord Ganapati, asked for His forgiveness as he was leaving the statue unfinished. In a day or two he fell down in the corner, weakened by lack of food. He thought his end was near and he was hallucinating, as he saw a figure, much bigger than a normal human being, working on the unfinished statue with a chisel and a hammer. Other than his size, all Narasimhulu could notice was his larger than usual ears. He couldn’t see the face of the unknown sculptor, as he had his back to Narasimhulu at all times, and he was himself very weak to walk up and find out.
Meanwhile, in the outer world it was the day when the King’s deadline ended. The King came with all his courtesans and the royal family and found the temple doors locked from inside. He ordered the doors to be broken.
Narasimhulu, very weak from starvation for days, could faintly hear the sounds of heavy objects hitting the temple door from outside. When he heard the door open, he gathered all his energy and opened hi eyes. As light entered the temple, he could see the faces of the statue of Lord Ganapati.
Narasimhulu could see that the statue was complete, as per the King’s order.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
In frame: Kadalekalu Ganesha, a 4.5 meters tall monolithic statue, located in a temple on the Hemakunta hill, in Hampi, Karnataka, India.
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© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.