The Mandir has two parts – the stone temple, which houses the holy shrines, and a wooden cultural complex, known as the Haveli.
You are presently in the Haveli.
‘Haveli’ literally means ‘mansion’. It also refers to an architectural style that developed around the 17th century in Gujarat and Rajasthan in western India, as devotees sought to build majestic dwellings for their deities.
Characterised by porch façades and central courtyards, Haveli architecture is particularly known for its array of profusely carved wooden columns, struts, arches, doors, windows and balconies. You may have noticed some of these when you arrived through the entrance to this building.
Here, in the atrium or ‘enclosed courtyard’, you can see more of these intricate wood carvings – majestic elephants, dancing peacocks and blooming lotuses, all symbols of hospitality, auspiciousness and piety in Hindu culture.
This Haveli covers around 17,000 square feet of woodcarving that engaged the skills of 169 craftsmen for over 20 months in India.
They used two types of wood – Burmese Teak and English Oak.
Burmese Teak, sourced from sustainable forests in Myanmar, was used in the carvings of the Haveli because of its texture, striking grain, and resilient qualities.
For the load-bearing beams and structural framework, English Oak was selected because of its sturdiness and durability. All the oak trees used originated from managed farms in Wiltshire, south west England, and for each tree used, 10 saplings were planted to ensure environmental sustainability.
Please take a few moments now to enjoy the craftsmanship around you and above.
Don’t forget to also look down, as you will notice that the delicate floral designs in the wood are complemented in the colourful carpet below. It features a blooming lotus flower. This is a prominent feature of Indian art, reminding us that beauty can blossom even in the most unlikely of places.
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