The year ended on a beautiful and spiritual note for my blog ‘Pendown’. December took me to Vrindavan (26th to 28th) and it turned out to be one notable trip of 2016. I gathered one of those rare experiences when I got a chance to see the making of something big and beautiful (Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir) that will be completed in 2022, one unique project which has never been undertaken before. In addition, the visit to the Akshay Patra kitchen touched me in many ways and I was thrilled to discover Gokul, Govardhan, Vrindavan and Barsaana in an absolutely new light.
I visited the construction site of this upcoming skyscraper and I am thrilled to talk about its amazing features. In comparison to some of the tallest religious structures in the world – ‘St. Peter’s Bassilica in the Vatican (128.6 m)’ and ‘The Pyramids of Egypt (128.8 m)’, this one is being looked upon as the World’s Tallest Religious Structure.
A Visit To The Construction Site Of World’s Tallest Religious Skyscraper
It was a lovely feeling to be part of it in its most initial phase. I had seen the model, the structure in press releases but this felt different. This construction site where I was standing was not going to support any ordinary building but one of the world’s tallest religious structure in Vrindavan in India. If the building turns out to be the same as contemplated, it will definitely make history. 25 specialist consultants from all over the world are working on this project to make it a reality. World’s number one structural design firm, M/s Thornton Tomasetti is working on this project and it is being led by Leonard Joseph.
While standing inside the footprint (nearly 5 acres) of the design, I was trying to imagine the grand temple that would soon bloom here. For now, it was only a piece of land with some piles and deep foundations but the work in progress indicated that the world’s leading firms and professionals were already in action for this project. Vrindavan is an important city for the Hindus, especially the followers of Lord Krishna. It is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood and grew up. To fuel this spiritual connect further, this skyscraper temple will be dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna. Inspired by the vision and statement of Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON Bangalore has conceived the idea of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir and they are religiously working toward its completion.
Had someone given me a chance to see the construction site where Burj Khalifa stands today, I would have loved to blog about it. Wouldn’t it be great to see the barren land and how the place looked before the massive building was built. – I had carelessly mentioned this to my husband when I had visited Dubai for the first time. When I received a mail from the communications team of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir highlighting the features of the skyscraper, salient features, intent of the project, comparison with other tall skyscrapers and its tourism potential, this seemed similar to what I had casually mentioned once. Having a strong connect and fondness for skyscrapers, I instantly replied to them. I was absolutely keen to know more about it and thus decided to do a trip from Faridabad to Vrindavan. Iskon team happily agreed to arrange for it.
As I mentioned, I have a fascination for tall buildings and birds eye view of the city. Whenever I visit a new country, I look for its tallest structures. I have been on top of Burj Khalifa, Petronas Tower, Eiffel Tower, Kingdom Centre in Riyadh (100 floor building), the tallest building of South Africa and highest point of Middle East in Oman. My respect for M/s Thornton Tomasetti, the structural design firm who have worked on the design of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir is immense. They have designed Taipei 101, Petronas Twin Towers, Kohinoor Square, Shanghai Tower and are currently designing the Kingdom Tower at Jeddah, (about 1.1km tall).
While I stayed in Vrindavan for 3 days, I not only touched upon area where it is being built but I also discussed its salient Features. My conversations with project manager and other members helped me to know more about Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir. Some of the features which make it a unique project are below.
The temple will consume a whopping estimated 45 lakh cubic feet of concrete, 19,000 tons (1.9 crore kg) of reinforcement steel and about 6400 tons (64 lakh kg) of structural steel.
There will be 4 temple halls. About 10,000 people will be accommodated at a time in all the temple halls put together. The visitors will have to walk 1.2km just to cover the darshan in the 4 temples.
The queue systems, designed by M/s Tata Consulting Engineers, can take care of 35,000 people on a normal day with a capacity of about 2.5 lakh people on a festival day like Sri Krishna Janmashtami.
The temple structure is being designed for an ultimate wind load of 226km/hr. RWDI of Canada is doing the wind tunnel design. The same company has done it for the Burj Khalifa.
The temple will also have a viewing gallery at 700 feet for a breathtaking panoramic view of Braj Mandal. The capsule elevator will take visitors to the top. This elevator will rise through different planetary systems in the universe as described in the Vedic literature, through an immersive sound, light and diorama show.
In total, there will be 40 lifts in the structure. 6 of them will be high speed lifts which will take people upto the viewing gallery. These high-speed lifts are designed for a speed of 8metres/second while Burj Khalifa has lifts which operate at 10metres/second.
The biggest earthquake in Mathura area occurred on Sep 1, 1803 with a magnitude of 6.8. The temple building will be designed to withstand an earthquake of nearly twice intensity.
There will be a look-alike of the verdant forests of Vrindavan. The forests will be recreated with varieties of lush vegetation, green pastures, elegant vistas of fruit bearing trees, flower-laden creepers serenaded by bird songs, clear water lakes with lotuses and lilies and waterfalls that tumble from small artificial hillocks.
This theme park will be recreated from descriptions in the Srimad Bhagavatam and other source books of Lord Sri Krishna. There will be a Yamuna Creek which will provide a boating opportunity to the visitors.
There will be an amusement park and the Krishna Lila attractions in the forest will provide an entertaining experience for all the family members.
There will be a Krishna Heritage Museum that will showcase the rich heritage and artistic celebration of Lord Sri Krishna in diverse cultures of India, practiced and perfected over thousands of years.
Next time, when you are in Vrindavan, you must check out the Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, a smaller one exists for now. The name remains unchanged however the tall structure is being built in the same vicinity. If you are interested, you may request an ISKON official to show you around. The Akshay Patra kitchen is also situated in the same campus. In my next blog I will talk about my visit to this most amazing kitchen which serves food to 1 lakh 20 thousand children every day. And there will be another blog around the hidden gems of Mathura.