Description of Thiruvalluvar Statue
The Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar is the author of the Tirukkural or Kural, an ancient Tamil work on secular ethics and morality. The statue is a representation of the second and third books of the Kural texts, namely, Wealth and Love. The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 ft, denoting the 133 chapters of the Tirukkural. The sculpture of Thiruvalluvar is 95 ft and the pedestal is 38 ft that denotes the 38 chapters of Virtue, which is the first of the three books of the Kural text.
The complete design and concept of the Thiruvalluvar Statue signifies that wealth and love is earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue. The right hand of the statue with three fingers pointing skywards signifies the three cantos of the Kural text, namely, Aram, Porul and Inbam, when translated means Virtue, Wealth, and Love, respectively. The statue is located close to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and is thus considered to be a cultural fusion because of its juxtaposition.
Construction of Thiruvalluvar Statue
The Thiruvalluvar Statue is built in conformation with the Indian architecture and the statue has provision to provide a hollow portion inside from toe to scalp. Visitors, however, are not allowed to scale, but instead are permitted to climb up to the foot of the statue at a height of 38 feet. The actual sculpting of the Thiruvalluvar Statue started on 9th September, 1990 and was completed on 1999.
The statue is built with stone and concrete and the stone work was divided amongst three workshops in Kankyakumari, Ambasamudram and Sholinganallur. The face of the statue is 19 foot high with the ears, nose, eyes, mouth and forehead all made of individual stones carved by hand. The monument was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26th December, 2004 but stood unaffected.
Maintenance of Thiruvalluvar Statue
The Thiruvalluvar Statue is maintained and chemically treated every four years to prevent it from corrosion due to sea breeze. The salty deposits in every joint are removed and replaced with new cement mixture. Since it’s unveiling, the statue has been treated four times, the latest one being on April, 2017 which was completed by October, 2017.