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  Life   More Features  13 May 2018  The lord’s abode gets a makeover

The lord’s abode gets a makeover

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRIYANKA CHANDANI
Published : May 13, 2018, 2:38 am IST
Updated : May 13, 2018, 2:38 am IST

But, adhering to these norms came with a set of challenges, like restoring the falling roof while still preserving its original design.

The entire process took six months and the conservators seem to have succeeded in their endeavour to preserve the original character of the temple.
 The entire process took six months and the conservators seem to have succeeded in their endeavour to preserve the original character of the temple.

In the midst of Chembur’s bustle is an oasis that gives peace to those that care to visit. This serene space is the land on which the restored Bhulingeshwar Temple sits. The entire temple complex, which comprises seven temples —Bhulingeshwar (Shiva), Hanuman, Ram, Sheetaladevi, Vitthala, Sai and Lord Ganesha — has been restored by the Bhulingeshwar Charitable Trust. Conservation architect, Rahul Chemburkar and conservator, Nilesh Thakkar, are the men responsible for this transformation.

The temples date back to the 18th century, and display architectural peculiarities found in the coastal belt of Maharashtra. Speaking about the special place these temples hold in the lives of many, Rahul says, “This place is commonly known as ‘deul wadi’, which roughly translates to ‘complex of God’. Although modest in design, these temples make for soothing, serene spaces. And so they had to be conserved.”

 

Did the colossal nature of the project make it difficult to gain a go-ahead on the restoration request? Vivek Raute, head trustee of the property says that initiating the process of refurbishing wasn’t difficult. “The temples are already listed in the Grade II Heritage Property list, so the approval came quickly. Also, once we informed devotees about our restoration plans, funds started pouring in,” he says.

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Elaborating on the significance of a Grade II Heritage listing, Rahul says, “When a structure falls under this listing, the basic structure of the place has to be kept intact while restoring it. So, not just because of the people’s connection with the temple, but because of the Heritage Conservation norms as well, we had to ensure that the traditional beauty of the temple stayed untouched.” Hence, Rahul suggested minimal changes to the team. He also invited at least 30 architecture students to research and document their experiences of the restoration process.

 

But, adhering to these norms came with a set of challenges, like restoring the falling roof while still preserving its original design. “This was a real challenge for us,” says Rahul. “The tin roof was in such bad shape that we didn’t know where to start or how to restore it without causing too much damage. We finally decided to use wood for the roof, since it's more durable. The walls too had to be renovated with care, as we didn’t want to obliterate the rustic feel of the place. We used symmetric tiles and lime plaster to restore the walls. These material can be easily worked upon in the future too,” he adds.

The entire process took six months and the conservators seem to have succeeded in their endeavour to preserve the original character of the temple. Shree Murunanon, who visits the temple complex everyday, vouches for this success. “It still feels like the same temples I visited as a child, however, they are a lot more colourful now,” she smiles.

 

Tags: sheetaladevi, rahul chemburkar, endeavour