Adiyogi Shiva Statue, Coimbatore.
Surrounded by verdant green farms at the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains in the Western Ghats, Adiyogi Shiva Statue is the world’s biggest bust statue dedicated to the famous Hindu deity Shiva, which is carved out of 500 tonnes of steel. Located in the Isha Yoga Complex in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, the sculpture stands tall at the height of 112 feet.
The Guinness World Book of Records recognised the statue as the “largest bust sculpture” which is 34.3-metre tall excluding plinth, 45 meters long and 7.62 meters wide. Designed by the founder of Isha Foundation- Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the statue was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 24th of February, 2017. The sculpture was constructed with the idea to inspire and promote yoga, and the statue is called “Adiyoga” meaning “the first yogi” as Lord Shiva is known to be the originator of yoga.
The figure was designed to portray moksha- a theme in the yogic culture. But despite the obvious connotations to Hinduism religion, the place is considered a non-religious spot and the image is just like an iconic inspiration. People of all races and religions are invited and encouraged to take part in the many cultural activities and games organised under the shadow of the mammoth statue. The parent foundation frequently organises several talks, cultural programmes, discourses, dinners and outdoor games. At the base of the sculpture is a shrine which can be used to meditate and chant. The spot is bustling with tourist and locals alike and you can see people meditating or taking selfies with the elephantine figurine at all times of the day. There is also a cafeteria which sells reasonably south Indian food that you can devour.
The statue is housed in the Isha Complex which also has the famous Dhyanalinga temple. The huge bust took over two years to be designed but the construction was completed in around eight months. Cast in steel, the bust of Lord Shiva represents the 112 possibilities to attain moksha (liberation) as per the yogic culture. The height is 112 feet which symbolizes the 112 chakras in the human body. At the time of the placement of the sculture, a linga named Yogeshwar Linga was also consecrated through the ceremony of prana prathishtha and placed in front of the statue. The linga has no heart chakra (Anahata) and is said to be a symbol for the “heartless yogi” meaning someone who is beyond the phase of feeling any emotions rather than being heartless. But the linga has five chakras- root chakra (Muladhara), sacral chakra (Svadhishthana), solar plexus chakra (Manipura), throat chakra (Vishuddhi) and third eye chakra (Ajna); each of which has six dimensions. The Isha Foundations plans to make three more such statues in Varanasi, Mumbai and Delhi.
The statue is located in the Dhyanalinga complex. If you want to travel in public transport, you can take a state bus from Gandhipuram bus stand, which sends out a bus every 45 minutes to the gates of the complex. From the Dhyanalinga temple, you can walk to the sculpture which is a 7 min short walk. However, if you are not willing to walk, there are modified bullock carts and open rickshaw facilities available which can ferry you to Adiyogi.