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Ram Temple Combines Ancient Art with Modern Engineering

Context:

The recently erected Ram Temple stands as a remarkable testament to architectural ingenuity and engineering innovation, seamlessly blending ancient design principles with contemporary techniques to create a structure of unparalleled significance. The visionary behind this magnificent creation is Chandrakant Sompura, an architectural designer from a family boasting a heritage of temple design spanning 15 generations. His vision for the temple extends its distinction not only within India but also on a global scale.

Relevance:

GS1- Art and Culture- Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Mains Question:

This Ayodhya Ram Mandir’s architecture not only mirrors a cultural legacy but also integrates inventive methods to ensure its longevity for more than a thousand years. Examine. (10 Marks, 150 Words).

The Temple’s Architecture:

  • The Ayodhya Ram Mandir features a layout with three floors, each standing at a height of 20 feet and encompassing a total of 392 pillars and 44 doors.
  • The construction incorporates materials such as Makrana Marble, Pink Sandstone, granite stone, and colored Marble.
  • The temple’s foundation is composed of a 14-meter-thick layer of roller-compacted concrete, and a protective 21-foot-high granite plinth has been strategically placed to guard against ground moisture.
  • Designed in the Nagara style, a North Indian temple architecture, the Ram Temple occupies a sprawling area of 2.7 acres, featuring a built-up area of around 57,000 square feet across three stories.
The Nagara style of temple architecture, initially developed in North India during the 5th century AD, gained popularity in Northern, Western, and Eastern India, excluding the Bengal region. This architectural style is notably present in areas around Malwa, Rajputana, and Kalinga.

Characterized by a simple stone platform with ascending steps leading to the temple, Nagara style incorporates distinctive features such as:

Sikharas: The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is consistently positioned directly beneath the highest Sikharas, which also feature a Kalash (Amalaka) installed on the Shikhara.
Absence of boundary walls or gateways.


Distinct regional schools within the Nagara style include the Orissa school, Chandel school, and Solanki school.
  • Following the Nagara style of architecture, the temple includes a Sanctum Sanctorum (garbhagriha), Mandaps (halls), and Mandirs.
  • Within the temple compound, dedicated corners are allocated to Surya, Bhagwati, Ganesh, and Shiv.
  • Additionally, temples for Annapurna and Hanuman are constructed on the northern and southern arms, respectively.
  • Temples for Maharshi Valmiki, Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Agastya, Nishad Raj, Shabri, and others also contribute to the spiritual and architectural richness of the temple complex.
  • Notably, the construction refrains from using iron or steel, as Sompura believes in their limited lifespan of 80-90 years. Towering to a height of 161 feet, the temple is roughly 70% of the iconic Qutub Minar.
  • The construction approach adopts a unique methodology, employing top-quality granite, sandstone, and marble. Dr. Pradeep Kumar Ramancharla, Director of the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), played a pivotal role, emphasizing the absence of cement or lime mortar in the joints.
  • Instead, a lock and key mechanism, utilizing trees and ridges, permeates the entire structure. CBRI ensured the earthquake-resistant structural design, capable of withstanding earthquakes with a return period of 2,500 years.
  • Chairman of the temple construction committee asserts that the temple is built to endure for over a thousand years, supported by collaboration with esteemed Indian scientists, including those from ISRO. The involvement of ISRO scientists underscores the prestige and significance of the project.

Conclusion:

Construction encountered a unique challenge in the sandy and unstable ground beneath the temple, near the Saryu River. However, scientists devised a clever solution. The entire temple area underwent excavation to a depth of 15 meters, where engineered soil was laid to a depth of 12-14 meters. No steel rebars were used, and 47-layered footings were compacted to mimic solid rock.  This three-story masterpiece not only mirrors a cultural legacy but also integrates inventive methods to ensure its longevity for more than a thousand years.


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