He put the Eiffel Tower in a bottle!

By V.N. Balakrishna, IANS,

Jamnagar (Gujarat) : He runs a small stationary shop, but in his spare time Alpesh Kansara is a “bottle art magician” as his co-villagers call him. He creates tiny models of grand buildings like the Eiffel Tower inside one-foot high glass bottles.

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Kansara, 30, is from the small village of Varvada in Jamnagar district, 460 km from Ahmedabad. He has completed nearly 50 artworks with models of buildings placed deftly, part by part, inside bottles.

Small on scale though they are, there is grandeur of vision in the old palaces and architectural details of temples recreated by him.

“I have made Lord Dwarkadhish’s Jagat Mandir with seven floors, the Swaminarayan temple of Rajkot, the Swaminarayan temple of Dwarka, Hawa Mahal of Jaipur, Mokamsinhji Gurdwara of Bet Dwaraka, a building wrecked by earthquake, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, royal palaces and many other models,” Kansara says, pointing out some of them in a room of his small home.

He also shows a miniature version of the Cricket World Cup trophy – placed in a light bulb.

“I got the inspiration to take up this art when I read about it in an article in the (Gujarati science) magazine Safari. It was about a Californian who is a master in this art. When I started out in this esoteric art eight years ago I got support from my parents who were truly impressed,” Kansara told IANS.

“This art is all about peace, perseverance and singular determination.”

A defining moment came when Hindi film superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his family visited Dwarka in November 2007. Kansara brought out his magnum opus, a golden model of the seven-storey Dwarakadhish temple ensconced in a bottle, and presented it to Bachchan.

The artist said he saw amazement in the Big B’s eyes.

“Bachchan said, ‘I have never seen such a thing. For the first time I am receiving a gift like this’,” Kansara recollected.

He has arranged 15 exhibitions of his works in various cities of Gujarat and his models-in-the-bottle have captivated the young and old alike who come up with the inevitable question: “How did you manage to get that temple inside the bottle?”

“Basically, you build models outside the bottle and then try to re-assemble them inside the bottle. Unless you have steely determination and resolve, it cannot be done,” explained Kansara, who has no formal training in this art.

He uses items commonly available such as matchboxes, matchsticks, book covers and whatever is at hand and with extreme care puts them inside the bottle with the help of pincers.

He takes special care in selecting bottles. “They have to be unbreakable. These glass bottles are very costly. They are available only from select places,” he said.

“I work only during my spare time and can develop this bottle art further if only I can find more time since I have to take care of my stationery shop first,” he said.

However, the young master added with quiet confidence: “I will work hard to make it a popular art.”

(V.N. Balakrishna can be contacted at [email protected])