30 years in the making

chandrakant-sompura Chandrakant Sompura | Janak Patel

Chandrakant Sompura, chief architect of the Ayodhya Ram temple, was reluctant to change the temple’s 30-year-old design. But, considering the improved connectivity and the increased importance now attached to the temple, he agreed to make some modifications to it. He spent three months during the pandemic making changes to the original design.

“I have no words to express my feelings,” said Chandrakant, an Ahmedabad native. “My effort of 30 years is going to take shape.” Designing grand temples is in his blood; his grandfather, Prabhashankar, was the architect of the Somnath temple in Gujarat and his father, Baldev, too, was a renowned architect. Chandrakant followed in their footsteps and has designed more than 100 temples.

On August 5, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone for the temple, the 77-year-old will not be able to attend owing to Covid-19 protocols. His sons Nikhil and Ashish will make presentations on the design. “I have worked with Modiji on many projects like the Ambaji Temple and 51 Shaktipeeth; I will miss this occasion,” said Chandrakant.

Ashish said the ground floor’s area was increased after studying 10 temples with the most footfalls, like the Golden Temple. Three mandaps (stages) have been added and the height was increased for aesthetics. “Minor detailing, like the iconography, is yet to be done,” he said. “It also depends on the kind of marble that is to be used for flooring.”