Sculpting a rocky legacy

Ashwini Jain Jan 8 2018, 20:57 IST
Mangala Paade, Karkala. PHOTO BY AUTHOR

At first sight, it is nothing but a pile of naturally occurring black rocks forming a cosy little trekking spot at the isolated interiors of Karkala. This town of religious and architectural significance is also home to numerous little-known legacies such as this one, lying isolated from the urban hustle and bustle. The dwellers in the vicinity call it Mangala Paade, which roughly translates to 'holy rock'. This place has been explored, excavated, and its resources utilised by skilled hands for generations now; and the place still stands with much more to offer.

Mangala Paade is in fact what has remained of a massive naturally occurring rock, which has been broken down by sculptors over generations. Although a rare sight now, people say there always used to be sculptors who kept carving one statue or another out of the rocks here. The sculptors had made Mangala Paade home, as a result of which the isolated area slowly became inhabited by a handful of households that sustain in the area even today.

In recent times, Mangala Paade has turned into a popular trekking spot in Karkala. One can see a large unfinished statue of a Jain deity left behind at the centre of the hillock. The naturally existing heights and little caves intrigue trekkers.

It is said that the rock here is considerably soft in nature, which made it a sculptors' favourite. Innumerable stone sculptures have been carved out of Mangala Paade, the two most popular ones being the Bahubali statue erected in Dharmasthala and the 'Avalokiteshwara' statue of Buddha, which was exported to Japan. Stone sculptures are carved at Mangala Paade over specific demand even today. However, the residents of the area say that activity at the Mangala Paade is considerably low of late. This has allowed nature to take over.

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