Indian Independence Exhibition features Chakra Sculpture inaugurated at Times Square

The Indo-American Arts Council Inc., in collaboration with The Consulate General of India in New York and The City of New York held the inauguration ceremony of The Indian Independence Exhibition on August 15, 2023. This significant event showcased the awe-inspiring Chakra Sculpture, a symbol of India’s rich cultural heritage and shared values between the two nations.

 

“We are honored to welcome Mayor Eric Adams to this remarkable exhibition, which pays tribute to the timeless cultural bond between India and the United States,” expressed Rajeev Kaul, Board Member, IAAC“The Chakra Sculpture’s presence in the heart of Times Square is a testament to the enduring friendship and shared values that unite our two nations,” he added.

 

“We are honored to bring the Konark Chakra to the heart of New York City to celebrate India’s 77th Independence Day. The Chakra or wheel stands as a shining symbol of India’s heritage, thought and timeless wisdom. Through the display of Chakra at Times Square, we not only celebrate the rich culture of India but also the enduring friendship that binds our two nations – the United States and India. This sculpture, a faithful replica of one of the twenty fours Chakras that adorn the Konark Temple dedicated to Surya or the Sun God, carries with it the essence of India’s history, resilience, and unity.  It also symbolizes our deep reverence for nature, for the sun. We extend our warmest gratitude to The Honorable Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, for joining us on this momentous occasion, to Mr. Vikas Khanna and to the Indo-American Arts Council Inc. for their partnership in the project. I also thank the State Bank of India for their support,” said Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal.

 

“I’m so proud to be representing India on August 15 to showcase the artisans and history and culture in this piece of stone which represents the wheel of time. I think this day is gifted to us by our ancestors, their sacrifices, their resilience, and the determination that the children will grow up in a free country where they can choose to be anything they want. And I chose to become a chef, and I’m so proud that the entire country supported me. This is the power of freedom. Today, on August 15, we salute all those who stood up for this power and also gave us the vision of the future of India”, added Chef, Restaurateur, Writer and Filmmaker Vikas Khanna.

 

The Chakra Sculpture, with dimensions of 8 feet x 6 feet and an approximate weight of 1800 kilograms (4,000 pounds), stands as a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship and artistic ingenuity. It is a faithful replica of the Konark Chakra, a revered emblem from the Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha. The original Konark Chakra is a meticulously carved stone wheel, one of 24 such wheels adorning the Konark Sun Temple. Built in the 13th century, the Konark Sun Temple endured challenges throughout history such as invasions and natural calamities, yet its resilient spirit persevered. The intricate carvings and symbolic representation of the Konark Chakra continue to captivate visitors, serving as a poignant reminder of India’s architectural and cultural legacy. Despite facing adversity, the Chakra embodies the enduring power and movement of the Sun, a source of sustenance and life, underscoring the same values as embodied by the city of New York.

 

The exhibit is open to the public till August 22, 2023.

Image courtesy of Chef Vikas Khanna

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