After a long time witnessing intense tussle between the two religious communities, which even led to the destruction of Babri Masjid, the Supreme Court finally gave the ultimate verdict of allocating the disputed land to the Hindu Deity. However, the demolition case is still pending in the special CBI court. So, here we are witnessing the most awaited ‘Shubharambh’.
The architect Chandrakant Sompura recalls how terrible the situation was when the disputed area resembled a military camp where he and his associates went without any measuring instruments and used his footsteps to measure the sanctum sanctorum.
Now, at Sompura’s office, two people work on the 3-D design of Ram Mandir which is not only new but also bigger. The design was confirmed in a meeting of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, the body formed to execute the construction of a Ram Mandir, on July 18.
Sompura says that “he has learned the art of architecture by his forefathers and grace of the Lord Vishwakarma. His grandson Ashutosh who is the son of Sompura’s elder son Nikhil is a civil engineer and also joined the business”.
Sompura also remembers of the then prime minister, PV Narshimha Rao who called him and asked him if the temple can be built without destroying the mosque.
Sompura says, “We made a model, with the three domes of the mosque intact, and the temple on the side. Devotees could pray at the Janmashtami on the disputed site and then come to the temple, like in Mathura”.
“The violence in which so many lives were lost, should not have happened,” he says when asked about it. “But it is also a fact that foreigners invaded us, destroyed our homes (ancient temples), and tried to spread their religion. That was also wrong. Look at how many times Somnath was destroyed…”
In the new design, three domes have been added — one in front, and two at the sides, and the number of columns have gone up from about 160 to 366; and the width of the stairs has been expanded from 6 feet to 16 feet. The height of the temple has been increased from 141 to 161 feet.
The sanctum sanctorum will be octagonal as per the design by shastras for temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Four other shrines dedicated to Sita, Lakshman, Ganesh and Hanuman, and other deities, will be a part of the complex.
While the original design would have used up to 3 lakh cubic feet of sandstone, that will now have to be doubled, says Ashish.
While the Sompuras evaluate the construction to be completed in 3.5 years, they fear the pandemic will push the deadline to another 6-8 months.
Written By: Prabhudarshan Samal
Image source: Google