Making 700ft Vrindavan temple: a A mix of expertise, faiths and nationalities

At 700ft, the temple will be three times the height of Delhi’s Qutub Minar. But what's more unique about the project is that people of several religions and nationalities are constructing – both with regards to funding and logistical support – the temple

At 700ft, the temple will be three times the height of Delhi’s Qutub Minar. But what's more unique about the project is that people of several religions and nationalities are constructing – both with regards to funding and logistical support – the temple.

An endeavor by Bengaluru devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the temple has been worked on by 25 specialist advisors from across the world. The core architectural team itself consists of-of people from different faiths.

Jagminder Singh, a Sikh, directs the primary architect’s team, while Misam Imam heads the structural design team. Chris Meering, a Christian, is in-charge of the team managing perpendicular transportation.

“Srila Prabhupada, while beginning the ISKCON movement made clear that this was for an international society comprising of all beyond, creed, faith, nationality and caste borders. With this political orientation, the temple at Vrindavan is coming up and is open for all,” said Narasimha Dass, the senior vice-president and project manager.

Describing further, he was for everyone who believed and said Krishna had never meant the message of Bhagavad Gita just for Hindus.

“This continues to be the driving spirit of ISKCON... (which is) even in the construction of the temple, people from all faith including Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Sikh are involved, and this makes it a structure of international approval,” he included.

A devotee will have to walk 1.2 kilometers to reach the room for ‘darshan’.

“Once built, it is going to be the tallest and largest religious structure in India. Piling work will continue till next Holi after which the work for lifting the tower will begin,” the project manager said.

The temple’s foundation stone was laid by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in March 2014. After that October, the site was visited by President Pranab Mukherjee for the Ananth Sesh Sthapna poojan. Work for the temple eventually began with the deadline, in 2015.

Working with such a diverse group of pros on this type of colossal endeavor has many challenges. Not the least is sticking to local aspirations.

“ We are done with the notion period and are now actually working on schematic details with a focus on the durability of the structure over several centuries,” the Misam Imam said.

“Another challenge would be to work with people who view it spiritually,” he added.

Put it together and after that one way around assembling a 700ft construction is real to assemble it in components. Thoughts from 25 different specialist advisers are being clubbed for better results. Thus all attributes are to be integrated and “It is more of an assembled structure,” said Singh, the main architect who has been part of the project since day one.

“The endeavor’s religious organization reflects a lot of energy and is a memorable experience for me.”

Aside from the chief temple structure, verdant forests, waterfalls, clear water lakes will surround the compound from hillocks – all recreated from descriptions in the Srimad Bhagvatam, Dass said. Other attractions will include a Krishna Heritage Museum, Bhagavad Gita Expo and a Yamuna Creek.

Architecturally, a capsule elevator is being contained within the core temple structure which will take visitors through distinct planetary systems in the universe as it rises. The experience will be enhanced with a light, sound and diorama.

Touted as the first LEED Gold temple building that is certified, it is being designed to have minimum radiative heating of the internal environment. The structural design for this continues to be given to M/s Thornton Tomasetti, directed by Leonard Joseph, who's now designing the Kingdom Tower the world’s tallest upcoming construction. The fire safety system is being put set up by Sunil Sahani, who designed a system that is similar for the Burj Khalifa.

Given its height, the temple construction has been designed to resist an ultimate wind load of 226 kilometers/hour. It is also being designed to withstand intense earthquake tremors. The worst earthquake Mathura faced was on September 1, 1803, which measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Once completed, the temple should be capable of defy nearly that intensity.