IAAC unveils Konark Wheel replica at Times Square

New York, NY: A ‘Chakra’ sculpture, a replica of one of the 24 Chakras adorning the Konark Temple in Odisha, was unveiled on the occasion of the 77th Independence Day of India at Times Square. The event was hosted by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) led by Rajeev Kaul, and the Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna.

Randhir Jaiswal, the Consul General of India in New York, was present for unveiling and inauguration as the Indian and American flags fluttered in unison while the venue reverberated with patriotic songs. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the legendary Sarod maestro, also graced the occasion.

IAAC has been working on the project since September 2022 under the guidance from Consul General Jaiswal.

“It took a long time to bring this to New York and get strong support and permission to install it at Times Square. But today we feel proud to see such a representation of India’s art in the middle of Times Square where it will be kept for one week,” Rajeev Kaul said.

Rajeev Kaul expressed his gratitude to Commissioner Cumbo for her support. Kaul also praised Vikas Khanna for undertaking the initiative and “putting together resources to bring the art to life”.

“It is amazing to bring this kind of art, such a strong heritage to New York City and to showcase to the world the power of Indian arts,” Kaul said.

Khanna, who devoted many years to bring this unique piece of art to New York, said, “For the diaspora and for the younger generations, they will get a reference of seeing something from India – so pure and majestic at the same time.” He commemorated the sacrifices and resilience of India’s past generations, underscoring the significance of India’s present and future.

Top representatives from the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) including Vice Chairman Rakesh Kaul,  Board member Anil Bansal, Sunil Hali, former Executive Director and Board member, Executive Director Suman Gollamudi along with the leadership of Federation of Indian Associations — NY NJ CT NE (FIA) including Ankur Vaidya, Chairman and Kenny Desai, President, were present at the event.

The Chakra sculpture will remain on display for a week at Times Square. This project, initiated before the pandemic, required the utmost dedication of artisans who beautifully crafted this awe-inspiring piece.

Image courtesy of IAAC

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