It was French who built the Statue of Liberty for the United States of America but in this 21st century, it is Nepalese, a team of 50, who are crafting the world’s biggest statue of ‘Padmasambhavan’ for Bhutan.
The team of 50 is lead by Raj Kumar Shakya, characteristically humble Nepali artisan, who is undertaking the pressure of building world biggest statue of Buddha in Bhutan. He is to construct a statue of 49m and 255-ton statue of the Buddhist guru, Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche.
Khenpo Karpo, a Bhutanese lama, assigned this gigantic task to Shakya after meeting other craftworkers in Thailand, Burma and India.
“Khenpo Karpo chose me as project manager when he saw a 2m Bhairav mask I had
made,” recalled Shakya. “Although I hadn’t worked on something that big before, I knew this would be good for me and for the reputation of Nepali craftwork.”
Staute is to stand at Takilia Hill, a remote area 500km east of Thimphu. Shakya’s team faced frequent electricity shortages, delayed supplies of materials from India, lack of entertainment and sometimes-even lack of food. But Shakya retains only the positive aspects of this experience: “After directing this construction, any other task will now seem easy to me. I learnt and experimented with new techniques.”
The Padmasambhava of Takilia Hill has been crafted using a repoussé metalworking technique: the same used for the Statue of Liberty in New York.