Ekam: The largest column-less meditation chamber in Asia

Ekam: The largest column-less meditation chamber in Asia
Mar 2019 , by , in Design

Ekam – Oneness Meditation Centre at Varadhepalayam in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, is built according to the ancient principles of Vaastu Shastra with every wall, doo and designed to keep up with the earth’s energy flow.

By: Architect Prabhat Kumar Poddar, Akash Foundation

Built on the vast open plains of the Vellikonda range, 80km north of the city of Chennai, the edifice stands 105 feet high on forty-two acres of level land. It is made of an incredibly rich array of indigenous materials such as white Indian marble, semi-precious stones, noble metals, and hundreds of varieties of native woods. The veranda’s around the building helps reduce the inside temperature by at least 12 to 15 degrees centigrade. A monumental column-less chamber of over 24,000
square feet is designed to accommodate 8,000 seekers.  We proceeded by first checking the entire energy of the
land, based on Geobiology principles, requiring the general understanding of Earth and Cosmic energy intensity of the
land. Once the Magnetic Grids, contours and topographical survey were overlaid, each building and structure was allotted their rightful space according to their functions based on Vastu principles. Each structure was designed to incorporate various Vastu principles in form, proportions, orientations as per various functions required in each building.

Aesthetic form and design such as the ideal perimeter of each building, the dimensions of every door, window and ventilators were calculated with the help of Ayadi formulae for the ideal perimeter of each building, as well as the  dimensions of every door, window, ventilators along with modern architecture and construction techniques.

The Meditation Hall Design

This building had to be designed based not only on Vastu principles – such as maintaining a golden ratio in design, of
square base and height of structure; but integrating various principles of the human body’s subtle energies – the various
dimensions of the Koshas (Subtle bodies). These dimensions of Koshas had to be incorporated in the change of volumes, as you entered from each of the four directions, highlighting through architectural design the changes in volumes, but also harmonising the view from each direction – which would reflect the same perspectives. Also integrate the energy principles of “static energy” connected to Cardinal directions, and “dynamic energy” connected to diagonal directions with the help of the 9 towers laid out diagonally.

I integrated the Buddhist concept of towers which is not so much a part of Indian temple architecture, and integrated
into each tower the Vedic concept of 7 Lokas, and each Loka containing the other seven, as units of seven stepped, tiered
towers. Also, the top of each tower was designed as per temple architecture principles of lotus, holding the sacred urn.

Along with the usual topographical survey of land contours, we also conducted the Magnetic Grid survey of the land. The entire planning of a project in ancient times was based on the understanding of the various types of Magnetic Grids of a land, and designing in harmony with it. This is one of the major challenges in Vastu designing, as people are not aware of the various types of Magnetic Grids and their role in affecting not only health issues but also creating negative radiations in a space.

The design of each golden kalash or urn follows Vastu principles. These 9 kalashas were fixed in position, following
all the sacred temple rituals. The dimensions and heights of each golden kalash had to be calculated and worked out
individually, as well as the making of each of them from copper sheets, and then using a very ancient technique,
covering each of the 9 kalashas, with 3 layers of gold leafs. The challenges here, was getting the right people to make
the desired kalashas and find those who knew the technique of gold layering.

The Meditation Hall Structure

The beam span of 50m in the Meditation Hall is the largest civil structure span in the world. The beams were not
simple single span but crossing each other both ways, which had never been attempted before,. The hollow beams 3m wide and 3m deep running east to west & north to south were post-tensioned and the concreting of the entire beam
structure supporting the roof was casted without any break.

There were 3 conduits in the vertical arms of each beam having 19 special high tensile steel rods of 19mm
diameter each. Post- tensioning was induced to each rod by a pull force of 200 tons. The rods of the 4 beams had
to be pulled in a very specific sequence, in such a way, that the entire main 4 beams centre was raised by 30cms from
the horizontal, without any cracks appearing. The same beams had to also come back to their normal horizontal
position once the roof was cast, again without any hair cracks happening! This was the most challenging task and
agonising moment, which the engineers of Larsen and Toubro, Chennai, did fantastically. Also read http://realtyplusmag.com/the-next-big-thing-on-tech-agenda-prop-tech-offerings-vary-as-widely-as-construction-brokerage-renting-property-management-automation/

Another challenge was the air-conditioning of the entire meditation hall, maintaining the sanctity of the architectural
design and achieving the optimum cooling. Here again, we could take advantage of the beam structures, and extend
their depths for air-conditioning ducts, and thus integrate the AC ducts in the structural design.

The Meditation Hall Design

This building had to be designed based not only on Vastu principles – such as maintaining a golden ratio in design, of
square base and height of structure; but integrating various principles of the human body’s subtle energies – the various
dimensions of the Koshas (Subtle bodies).

These dimensions of Koshas had to be incorporated in the change of volumes, as you entered from each of the
four directions, highlighting through architectural design the changes in volumes, but also harmonising the view from
each direction – which would reflect the same perspectives. Also integrate the energy principles of “static energy”
connected to Cardinal directions, and “dynamic energy” connected to diagonal directions with the help of the 9
towers laid out diagonally.

I integrated the Buddhist concept of towers which is not so much a part of Indian temple architecture, and integrated
into each tower the Vedic concept of 7 Lokas, and each Loka containing the other seven, as units of seven stepped, tiered
towers. Also, the top of each tower was designed as per temple architecture principles of lotus, holding the sacred urn.

Sacred Energy of The Earth:

Ekam is built at a point where the earth’s energy grids meet creating infinite energy for the seekers to channel. It is built as a 3-dimensional surya yantra mandala, the ancient geometric form that draws the sun’s mystic energy. The square shape of the sanctum and the square base of the spires on top are a perfect synthesis of the cosmic energies from above and below that help in creating a perfect and harmonized world.

The 4 Purusharthas:

The four cardinal directions marked with faces of four different animals carved in marble, are each meant to attract one specific aspect of energy into the seekers who walk past them- ‘Simha-Mukha’ (Lion-Face) in the south representing protection and abundance, ‘Ashva-Mukha’ (Horse-face) in the west representing pleasure and Power, ‘Gaja-Mukha’
(Elephant-Face) – representing Wisdom and desire to serve and ‘Go-Mukha’(cow face) in the east representing
Awakening or Mukto or atma sakshatkara.

Mystic Field & Vibrations

The reverberations of the meditations from within the sanctum are such that they cause the water in the channels surrounding the temple to vibrate and take the entire space to an incredible frequency. They neutralise harmful energies
as the seeker crosses them.

Point Of Infinite Energy

The nine spires donning the temple at the top represent the integration of the nine planetary energies. The ‘Amrutha-Kalasha’ (pot-like structure) on top of each spire is entirely crafted out of semi-precious stones and signifies infinity, prosperity and wholeness. Each Kalasha has a pinhole or the ‘bindu’ or the point that allows the flow of cosmic
energies inward. The gigantic ‘Sri-Chakra’, extolled in the Vedic texts as the ‘King of all sacred patterns’, is
created right below the central spire. It represents the union of the masculine and the feminine forces of the
universe. The Kalashas are energized by the recitation of specific chants. It is the combination of the spires
and the Kalashas that forms an incredibly dynamic energy field within Ekam.

About Realty Plus

Loading...