Shriram Temple is a unique work of the Sompura family which will be etched in golden letters

Mr Chandrakant Sompura

The architect who designed Shriram Temple in Ayodhya is (Age 80 – Photo inset). For over 30 years, Mr Chandrakant Sompura has worked tirelessly in envisioning how Shriram Temple should look like.

The Babri structure was razed in 1992; later, Shriram Janmabhoomi case was awaiting a Court decision for 27 long years. Yet, Mr Ashok Singhal went to Ayodhya with Mr Chandrakant Sompura and took the measurements of the Temple based only on ‘foot’ as a unit of measure and that too in such a way that the security forces do not notice it, and made a plan of the proposed Temple from those measurements.

1. Style of Temple construction and relation with the Sompura family : Nagar, Dravidian and Vesar are the three styles of temple construction. Among them, the Nagar style is mainly used in North Bharat.

Numerous temples of this style have been built earlier in the vast territory, stretching from the Himalayas to the Vindhya Range. This is the same Hindu architectural style that has been adopted for the Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar, Jagannath Temple of Puri, Surya Temple of Konark in Odisha. A very recent example of this style is the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. The architect of this Temple is also from the Sompura family. Somnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in our country.

After Independence, under the leadership of Mr Kanhaiya Lal Munshi, the Somnath Temple was rebuilt in 1950-51. The entire responsibility of the construction then was shouldered by Mr Chandrakant Sompura’s grandfather Padmashri Mr Prabhashankar Sompura. He was not only a temple architect, he also wrote 14 books on temple construction, which serve as guides for students of this subject today.

2. Mr Chandrakant Sompura’s words about the Bhoomi Pujan of Shriram Janmabhoomi came true : As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi would visit Mr Chandrakant Sompura’s house. He would ask Mr Chandrakant Sompura – “When will you build Shriram Temple ?” Mr Chandrakant Sompura would jokingly reply, “Once you become the Prime Minister, the road to Shriram Temple will be cleared. When that happens, the Bhoomi Pujan will be performed by you. At that time, I will certainly come and see the completed Temple”.

3. The sequence of events that led to Mr Chandrakant Sompura getting the contract to plan for Shriram Temple : Mr Chandrakant Sompura has built the Akshardham Temple in Gujarat, Swaminarayan Temple in Mumbai and Birla Temple in Kolkata.

Upon seeing the Birla Temple, Mr Ashok Singhal (of VHP) asked Mr Birla the name of its architect and to what extent the architect could help in designing the proposed Shriram Temple. Thereafter, Mr Ashok Singhal met Mr Chandrakant Sompura, who happily agreed to do the needful at Shriram Janmabhoomi site.

4. Shriram Temple and its construction : Mr Chandrakant Sompura made the primary sketches of the Temple and its premises according to the measurements taken with Mr Ashok Singhal. He ordered stone from Rajasthan and started the carving and engraving work. After the Supreme Court’s favourable verdict, the new architectural plan of the Temple was made and its approval taken from the concerned authorities. Surprisingly, even after so many years, the construction of the Temple started mainly on the dimensions taken then, and it has been completed too.

While making the new plan, care was taken that not a single pillar of the carvings of the past 30 years go waste. This Temple will stand on 1,200 pillars buried 200 feet deep in the ground. Each pillar is 1 meter in diameter. A few weeks after the Bhoomi Pujan, the strength of these pillars was tested by burying 200 pillars and putting a lot of pressure on them. Steel has not been used anywhere in the entire construction of Shriram Temple. It has been constructed with stones placed one atop the other and connected through interlocking joints.

About the Sompura family

The Sompura family has been building temples for 500 years. It has so far built over 200 temples in India and abroad. They have faith that the Art of temple construction was taught to their family directly by Deity Vishwakarma. Although temple construction is their profession, they do not look at it from a commercial perspective. Mr Chandrakant Sompura is the 15th generation in the profession. His sons, Mr Nikhil and Mr Ashish, are the 16th generation, while Mr Nikhil’s son is the 17th generation.

Mr Chandrakant Sompura refrained from going to Ayodhya for the Bhoomi Pujan during the Covid 19 pandemic. However, Mr Ashish and Mr Nikhil came from Karnavati (Gujarat) to attend the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony in Ayodhya.

Mr Chandrakant Sompura’s views on his family’s role in building the Temple

I am proud that our family had the fortune of becoming the architect of a Temple the whole world was eager to build, for the construction of which the Hindus in India had to struggle for 3 decades even in an Independent India.

Change in the fortunes of Larson & Toubro Ltd. after taking up the Shriram Temple construction project

There has been extensive change in the fortunes of Larson & Toubro Ltd. (L&T) after it took up the construction of Shriram Temple in Ayodhya.

L&T acquired work in Bangladesh, Nepal, Saudi Arabia. It bagged an EPC contract from NHPC for a 50 MW solar power project in Tamil Nadu. Isn’t this changing financial fortune the consequence of taking up the construction of Shriram Temple ?