A 10 feet tall stone elephant that was ‘leaning left’ all these years is now standing straight in Benninamane village of Belur taluk in Hassan district. The stone statue which is said to be from the Hoysala period was orphaned for as long as anyone in the village can remember. The statue had leant leftwards and had its feet sunken in soil. No one bothered about it until a few years ago. Ningegowda was the owner of the plot on which the stone elephant was planted. Initially no one wanted to buy this plot because it had the elephant statue that leant- almost like it was sleeping- leftwards. People considered it a bad omen. Annegowda bought the land all the same and his sons look after it now.
Annegowda’s children decided to cultivate coffee in the plot and began work. But, whatever bad incidents occurred in the village, people would blame it on the statue of the elephant. Fed up of all this, Dinesh, the current owner of the plot hired two cranes and a JCB and lifted the elephant and installed it straight in the same place.
“Since the elephant was kind of sleeping leftwards, villagers would blame it for every bad occurrence. That was also when no one was ready to buy this plot and my father Annegowda bought it. We informed the team in Dharmasthala about the elephant. Since they have a museum of historical things, we thought they would take it. The team from Dharmasthala came but since there is no proper road for them to transfer this huge statue of stone, they dropped the idea and left. We are levelling the plot for coffee plantation. So since the cranes and JCB were already present, we re-established the elephant up straight,” Dinesh told News18.
“The elephant is 10 feet tall, 10 feet wide and weighs 35 to 40 tonnes easily. This is an unfinished statue. The stone looks like the one used in several sculptures of temples in Belur constructed by the Hoysalas. We don’t have much info about why this statue was abandoned here, who would have actually carved it, etc. Further investigation may reveal details. We are also searching for any stone inscription in the surrounding areas,” said Kumar HC, curator at the Department of Archaeology.
The huge elephant is now the center of attraction and villagers are flocking to see it and click selfies with it.