Gautama Buddha, whose name is synonymous with peace and tranquillity, is again in the news thanks to Andhra Pradesh’s new capital, Amaravati.

T Venkateshwar Rao, a Hyderabad-based sculptor, is working on a series of stone Buddha statues to adorn the new capital.

Amaravati has been named after the famous Buddhist site where a Maha Chaitya or stupa is located, on the banks of river Krishna.

Sensing the magnitude of the development, Rao, who is well-known for his exquisite works, including of the Buddha, has created a number of Buddha statues in different forms with sizes ranging from about 3 feet to 20 feet.

He supervises and sculpts the statues himself at his workshop near Hitec city.

Narrating some of his experiences, Rao says: “I have had the pleasure of working for Chief Ministers N Chandrababu Naidu and YS Rajasekhara Reddy and the opportunity to present one of my works to Bill Clinton, the then US president, during his visit to Hyderabad in 2000.”

“I procure different varieties of stones depending on what is to be carved. This could be limestone, granite, or stone procured from places such as Khammam, Guntur and even Tamil Nadu. It all depends on how the people want them to be,” he says.

Referring to the growing interest in Buddha statues, he says that of late, a number of people buy them as a source of inspiration and install them in their meditation rooms.

Others just purchase them as an adornment for their homes.

Rao has worked on some of the marquee sites in Hyderabad, including the recently installed Congress leader G Venkatswamy statue at Tank Bund; Ashoka Pillar; PV Narasimha Rao Ghat; and the Poorna Kumbha at the Secretariat.