Ekam: The largest column-less meditation chamber in Asia
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 Geo-biology 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.