Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna unveiled a replica of Odisha’s famous Konark Sun Temple wheel at the iconic Times Square in New York City on the occasion of India’s Independence Day.
He was joined by Randhir Jaiswal, the Consulate General of India in New York, Indo-American Arts Council and Indian-Americans who turned up in huge numbers to witness the flag hoisting ceremony on Tuesday.
Several artists from Odisha’s Lalitagitri village have worked for months on the handcrafted replication, which is made of sandstone and weighs approximately 4,000 pounds.
“While I have been dreaming and conceptualising about this moment for almost five years, the brilliant artists at work in India have toiled day and night for many, many months to make this come alive! This will be a magical moment!,” Khanna had tweeted earlier.
The art replica will also be displayed as a symbol of unity between the Indian diaspora and America in Khanna’s upcoming New York City restaurant in 2024.
Khanna had said that he was inspired by the sand Konark wheel sculpted by Odisha’s renowned sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik.
Responding to a video of the unveiling, Pattnaik wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “You have created history by unveiling the replica of world heritage monument Konark wheel in Timee Square on the occasion of Indian Independence Day. This is a proud moment for all of us. Thank you again for contributions in promoting Indian art and culture.”
It took 12 years and 12,000 artisans to build the 13th century Konark Sun Temple, a monumental representation of the chariot of the sun god, which is a Unesco-designated World Heritage Site.
The 24 wheels of the chariot are decorated with symbolic designs and led by seven horses symbolising time.