| Vivekananda Nayak displays the hand-crafted two-inch chariot. Telegraph picture |
Artists and carpenters in Puri and other places in the state might have left no stone unturned in outdoing each other by erecting giant chariots for rath yatra.
But Vivekananda Nayak (46) from Puri stands out among all the competitors.
Unlike the others, Nayak did not make huge chariots or idols.
Rather he has drawn the attention of many by making the smallest chariot and idols of deities (Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra).
He carved out the miniature chariot and idols on grains of rice.
While the height of the chariot is nearly 2 inches, the width is around 1 inch. The chariot has 16 wheels, akin to the chariot (Nandighos) of Lord Jagannath.
Nayak carved out Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on three rice grains. The sibling deities will be installed on the mini chariot on July 13.
It is hard to acknowledge his artistic potential through naked eyes. One needs to peek at the tiny idol through the help of zoom lens.
“I started the work on Akshaya Tritiya on May 16 on which day construction work of the chariots for Jagannath temple deities also started. I completed the work only two days back,” Nayak said. “It required a lot of concentration and homework,” said Nayak, who works as an ad hoc railway labourer at Puri railway station.
“On behalf of East Coast Railway, I want to dedicate my art to the nation on the occasion of rath yatra,” he said.
His two daughters, Anupriya and Supriya and only son Rajesh, also helped him in making the art.
“My daughters have learnt the skills to some extent. They were curious and helped me throughout the chariot making,” he added.
At his residence, Nayak has mounted a small pandal and installed the rice-idols along with the chariot for puja.
Neighbours are making a beeline to catch a glimpse of his fabulous creation.
Nayak, who is equally deft in making art on sand, stones and wood, has carved out images of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru on rice grains.
Recently, Vivekananda Nayak got an opportunity to showcase his talent before President Pratibha Patil during her visit to Puri. Impressed with his artwork, Patil had praised him and donated some money.