Take deep breath and put on your browser seat belts as we load 52 image of the story of the creation of the base of the avudaiyar of the Iraivan Temple Maha Sphatika Lingam.
The avudaiyar (Tamil, pronounced AA-vu-dai-YAR), or pitham in Sanskrit, of the lingam, is being poured in Swamimalai, India, in several sections. Today’s documentary details the pouring of the very bottom portion which is marked on the painting.
Yoginathaswami and Senthilnathaswami observed the casting of the middle piece of the avudaiyar on August 26, 2007. We have reuploaded the following video in higher quality and HD at YouTube. It shows the process, which has just been repeated on a larger scale for the lower portion of the avudaiyar. Enjoy!
To watch this video in HD, click here and then click the “watch in HD” link underneath the video near the view counter.
We take you now to Swamimalai where the work is being supervised by Kubera Sthapati--the chief artisan of the metal works--under the guidance of Selvanathan Sthapati, our temple architect.
First a wax model made to exacting proportions was created. This was then encased in a special mixture of earthen clay that is indigenous to the area. We are told the earth in the Swamimalai area is one of the few soils that you simply dig up, mold and dry and it is perfectly suited to hold molten metals. You might call it the original metal works plaster. This mold is heated and the wax is melted out. Hence this area is popular for metal works.
The methods, materials and tools have been handed down by Swamimalai artisans for many generations.
The mold is baked to harden it. The mold is then buried and packed in the ground. Metal re-inforcement strapping has been added on the outside to help the packed mold sustain the pressures of the hot molten metal about to be poured into its interior.
Near by a pit full of coal has been burning for hours with crucibles of metal therein, heating up for the pour.
There are two coal pits burning away at incredible temperatures of over 1,800 degrees farehnheit.
Nearby a homa to Lord Ganesha has been performed to invoke blessings on the morning’s work, assuring that all barriers will be removed.
The two Sthapatis overseeing the work.
The time has come. The metal is molten, hot enough to pour and the covers of the pits are removed.
More coal is added to the pits.
The copper makes the fire green.
A final check on the state of the molten metal indicates it is ready for the pour.
Giant two-man tongs that will be used to pick up the crucibles are brought to the pits.
These vitrified ceramic crucibles are brought, one-by-one to the mold.
verb ( -fies, -fied) [ trans. ] (often be vitrified)
convert (something) into glass or a glasslike substance, typically by exposure to heat.
The pour begins.
More crucibles are brought out and queue up behind each other.
Two crucibles remain to pour in: early 1,000 degrees Celsius
All the metal has been filled into the mold
The team behind the job.
Now we wait, while the metal cools.