The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is an institutional project and is being proposed as part of the master-plan for 338 Acres in Chennai. The Sai temple in itself measures 11.11 acres and is designed to be practical, spiritual and experiential. The temple was built on the Vastu purusha mandala and comprises of 4 zones: Front promenade, Temple Complex, Rear Promenade and Statue.
The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple was designed as the epicentre of a larger master plan development on a site that had a single Neem Tree. Inspired by the ‘Gode” Neem tree of Shirdi, Maharashtra, the tree formed the start of the design and a series of mathematical progressions resulted in an Agama-shastre based plan as the foundation for the design.
The design of the garbhagriha was form-driven while trying to adhere to principles of numerology, Vaastu and powered by computational architecture. The concept was to provide a form that is as pure and perfect as possible on earth in color, texture and philosophy. The proportions and sizing of all aspects of the design rely heavily on the understanding of the golden ratio and principles of mathematics and origami.
The temple is to be the nucleus of the development and needs to be centrally located, and the temple itself is built around a GodeNeem tree on the site. The master planning of the temple is a reinterpretation of agamashastra. The main notion that went into the design of the temple complex was to make the experience of anyone entering the temple absolutely divine. So, a promenade was created, that would frame the view to the temple, as well as guide the devotees to the 155 ft Baba statue.
Front promenade invites the visitors in to the complex after drop off. It is spacially divided into counters for storing baggage and shoes, frisking area and ablution area. It marks the beginning of the temple complex.
At the gopuram, the visitors get the first view of the temple complex. To keep the interest alive, the view is framed and partly hidden through landscape. The monotony of the 525 ft promenade walk is broken by green strips and shops on either side of the pathway.
The 11 point circle pattern is reiterated throughout the design of gathering spaces and the roof of the garbagriha.
The flooring of the garbagriha is done specifically to shift the focus to the far end of the room rather than the center beneath the oculus of the polygonal roof intersects. Dividing the outer circumference into 11 equal segments, the position of the deity within the garbagriha was fixed. The arcs that radiate from this fixed position connect to the segment points on the circumference forming a petal-like pattern which is also translated to the oculus on the rooftop. This design measure creates a point of focus that is not the center of the polygon while maintaining symmetry and sanctity to the Master Number.
PODIUM : The devotees reach the podium through the mahamandapa from either the VIP room or the general queing system in place.
One they reach the podium, the devotees are offered a panoramic view of the entire development, and could go to the temple, the 3 shrines in front of the garbagriha, meditation pockets, or gathering spaces as and when they prefer.
A temple tank is provided as part of the podium design and is accessed from the VIP queing and waiting hall. The steps of the tank double up as an amphitheater for larger gatherings and outdoor bhajans.