Myanmar log unveils a Vishnu masterpiece

The sculpture of Mahavishnu is accompanied by Bhoodevi and Sridevi.

In the heart of Secunderabad (Telangana), an exceptional ekandi (single log) sculpture of the reclining Vishnu (Anantha-Seshashayana  Shri Mahavishnu) has become a   focal point of admiration since its public revelation in July last year.

Consecrated by the former Vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, this remarkable sculpture is a testament to the intersection of excellent artisanship, woodworking finesse, rich Indian history and unwavering dedication of a bunch of wood artisans from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Myanmar (erstwhile Burma)!

Crafted with precision from a single teak log that had weathered centuries in the remote forests of Myanmar, the sculpture’s origins trace back about 1,500 years.

Weighing a colossal 3.5 tonnes, measuring 21 feet in length, 8.6 feet in height and 20 feet in girth (circumference), this masterpiece is a true marvel. The Burma teak, sourced from the world’s largest teak tree, adds to its significance.

Vision realised

At the helm of this visionary endeavour is Sharath Babu Chadalavada, the Managing Partner at Secunderabad-based Anuradha Timbers International. The enormous log was first sourced in 2017 by him from a timber depot in Myanmar.

With business connections spanning 40 countries, Sharat’s vision turned the Myanmar government-auctioned log into an awe-inspiring sculpture.

The company’s past projects include prestigious works for spiritual leaders and royalty, luxury yachts of the uber-rich, and wood-based projects like the old Parliament library in New Delhi.

The sculpture of Mahavishnu, accompanied by Bhoodevi, Sridevi and the celestial serpent, Adisheshu, boasts life-like replication of skin, jewellery, hand and foot contours, and even nails.

Meticulously carved, the woodwork is exceptionally smooth, free of visible wood grain or nodes. Beyond the central figure, the sculpture features 84 additional intricately carved sculptures, each contributing to the overall grandeur.

The fact that this variety of Myanmar wooden logs have no sap, possess natural oil, and have very low moisture content also made this dream a practical possibility, says Sharath.

Overcoming hurdles

Sharath Babu was determined that the log should remain unbroken and the shape unchanged as far as possible. He realised that the log shape was amenable to a reclining figure; and finally, the central area was such that it could easily be shaped into a hip.

Valuable inputs were taken from Vedic pandits and from temple construction experts like Sthapathi Kumaraswamy and other woodworking professionals. The whole project was finally given shape by artist Rayana  Giridhara  Gowd.

The journey from a Myanmar forest to an office in Secunderabad was riddled with challenges. With Myanmar’s regulations prohibiting the export of logs in this form, Sharath navigated bureaucratic obstacles, sought permission, and eventually transformed the colossal log into a  breathtaking sculpture.

A team of sculptors from Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu) and skilled artisans from a Myanmar village worked tirelessly under the watchful eyes of Anuradha Timbers International. About 40% of the work was completed in Myanmar and the balance after it was moved it to India.

It is evident that this endeavour goes beyond commercial pursuits. When asked about the future of the Mahavishnu sculpture, Sharath Babu cryptically states, “It was not made for commercial purposes.”

The Ananthaseshashayana Shri Mahavishnumurthy sculpture is not only a magnificent work of art but stands as a testament to human determination, cultural preservation, and a  harmonious blend of craftsmanship and spirituality.

The celestial (L) and earth-bound (R) figures come from inspiration from Vedic texts dating back 1,500 years.



Comment here