Interpretation Center at Mahakal Van Site, Ujjain



The Mahakal Van site is projected to be a node of various cultural, religious and urban activities. The Temple and its spill over has a proposal of mela ground, yearly congregation spaces, accommodation for visitors. OAT, food plazas, administration blocks, visitor centre, Interpretation centre and many more. The combined proposal is projected to create a multi activity centre and will provide an improved image of the religious character of Ujjain city, against the pilgrims.
The vastness of the project confines the limitation upto the designing of interpretation centre and the adjoining activities such as, parking, fair and expo grounds, huge congregation areas, guest accommodations and kiosks.

Process and Development of the Design:

From the allocation of the building on the site to detailing, one central thought was kept while designing was the Mahakal temple. Though the relationship between temple and the interpretation centre is as limited as relationship between interpretation centre and the site, the site (i.e. Mahakal van Kshetra) was chosen because this temple is key attrac­tion point in the whole city and the main axle for the city. Main thought was to attract and allure the visitors of Mahakal temple to interpretation centre and the same to attract the visitors of Shivasya to Mahakal temple. The southern part of the site was vacant, less crowded in terms of buildings and easy to access that supported me to grow the building on this portion of the site. Other than that Rudrasagar dries up every year and it is impor­tant to highlight and draw attention to the deteriorating pond instead of negligence and ignorance. The basic lay outing of the building was in circular way as this type of plan­ning is helpful to ambulate the visitors in continuity. And of course building planning re­sembles with the Shiv-lingam with snake (Nagbandh) turned around it The process of de­signing the project was started with the allocation of central Rudraksh the meditation hall and other building elements was grown around it like Ujjain city grown around the Mahakal temple. Building also symbolizes the life cycle of human which says that the whole world run around the supreme power and submerges gradually into him after world. The whole building becomes an iconic landmark of Ujjain and may become identity of the city as monument.

Interpretation Centre, Mahakal Van, Ujjain

The spontaneity and continuity of the building help the visitors to flow with the built mass and voids. Various frames and vistas are created to peep out to see the temple and the Rudraksh. Various technologies like robotics and laser show are proposed to help the visitors to interpret.

I tried to put my building in a way that it not only symbolizes the Ujjain but also represents the importance of Shiva in the city and the context of Shiva with the city. Nagbandh helps you to reach the building and also ambulates you to centrally located Rudraksh “the Shiva itself’ (a meditation hall). This concept sup­ports the mythological and geographical condition of the city which says Nagbandh is the medium to reach the knowledge and ultimate truth. Building also symbolizes the world running around the ultimate soul and power – Shiva. It also represents how a soul submerges in the supreme soul after this world as the building gets dissolved and vanished gradually in the water body at the end. The meditation hall which is located at the centre of the building remains attractive and welcoming throughout the corri­dor of the building. One thought was kept while designing is to make visitors feel comfortable, curious and free from confusion during their visits to the interpretation centre “Shivasya”

Interpretation Centre, Mahakal Van-2

Climatic Considerations:

The whole building is located and planned along the sun path. All open spaces along the corridor remain in shade whole year and water body also cools off the building. Cres­cent shape of the building which is formed opposite side of the wind direction catches all wind and wind flows through the building through deliberately given voids and punchers. Some other architectural features are incorporated in the building which helps the climate to cool and subtract extra energy used for lightning, ventilation and cooling.

The whole design is fallowed in the modern contemporary architectural style and made of reinforced cement concrete. I tried to fuse the all Shiva elements with contemporary archi­tectural style.

Interpretation Centre, Mahakal Van-3

Some Key Design Features of the Mahakal Interpretation Centre:

  • Rudraksh the meditation hall is given to calm down the visi­tors before their visit to the temple and Shivasya the interpre­tation centre. Rudraksh abbreviated Rudra + aksh means eye of Shiva and in Hindu mythology, ‘Ekmukhi Rudraksh‘ or one mouthed Rudraksh is believed the Shiva itself. The slit for light which is making it like a Rudraksh creates a divine effect from inside of the meditation hall.
  • The Ghat Pattern sitting along the interpretation centre and around the Rudraksh is an ultimate soothing architectural ele­ment which cools off all negative vibes and prepares you to encounter with knowledge and god. It is also an ideal place for researcher to sit around and observe or study just step out the door of library.
  • The Triangular frame like sitting area located at the top of the mound symbolizes the Mahakal temple lo­cated on the hill and provides a frame to the temple from interpretation centre. This frame connects visu­ally the interpretation centre to Mahakal temple. It also provides a good sitting area, good scenic beauty of Rudrasagar and soothing and cozy envi­ronment after or before the visit to the temple and interpretation centre.


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