A team of artisans at Jalesar town in Etah district of Uttar Pradesh have forged a bell weighing a whopping 2,100 kg for the new Ram temple in Ayodhya and are preparing to give it final touches before sending it to the holy town.
While Dau Dayal, 50, was primarily responsible for making the ‘ashtadhatu’ bell, Iqbal Mistri, 56, was in charge of the designing, grinding, and polishing work. Both pointed out that it was the first time in their lives that they were working on a bell of this size.
“When you work on a bell of this size, the challenges are greater. It is really hard to ensure you do not make a single mistake in the process,” said Dau Dayal.
Explaining the process, he said: “What is unique is that the bell is in one piece — no multiple pieces welded together. This is what makes the task much more difficult. The whole effort will go to waste even if there is a delay of five seconds in pouring the molten metal into the mould.”
The casting of the bell involves many lengthy steps — determining the shape and measurements painstakingly, cutting out wooden templates to make the mould, preparing metal, tuning, grinding, and fitting the clapper. A crane was used to pour the alloy into the mould.
The ‘ashtadhatu’ bell is a combination of eight metals — gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron, and mercury.
A team of around 25 workers, both Hindus and Muslims, worked for a month for eight hours a day to make what would be ‘among the largest bells’ in the country.
“This piece, one of the largest bells in India, will be donated to the Ram temple,” said Vikas Mittal, Chairman of Jalesar Municipal Council and owner of the workshop where the bell has been made.
The Mittals got the order to prepare the bell from the Nirmohi Akhara — one of the litigants in the Ayodhya title dispute — immediately after the matter was decided last November by the apex court, paving the way for the construction of the temple.
“We believe there is some divine reason that this work came to us. So, we decided to donate it to the temple,” says Aditya Mittal, a brother of Vikas.
The bell cost them Rs 21 lakh. From the initial plan to design finalisation to manufacture, the entire manufacturing process took around four months.
“Final touches are needed before it is sent to Ayodhya,” said Shubham Mittal.
The Mittals had also presented a 51-kg bell to Yogi Adityanath, when he came to Etah to address his first public meeting after becoming the Chief Minister.
Earlier, Dayal had cast a 101-kg bell put up at the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand.
“This is the largest and the heaviest bell we have worked on, so far. We had also cast a 1,000-kg bell for the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain,” he said.
Dayal, a fourth-generation bell-maker, said that making bells for schools was a part of his business.
He said that the bells cast in Jalesar’s soil ring better. The sound of the bell, prepared for the Ram temple, can be heard up to 15 km, he claimed.
Jalesar’s brass handicraft has benefited under the Yogi Adityanath government’s ‘one district-one product'(ODOP) scheme.