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HomePoliticsGrand gateways, heritage architecture, sculptural gallery: Many facets of ‘Mahakal Lok’

Grand gateways, heritage architecture, sculptural gallery: Many facets of ‘Mahakal Lok’

Ujjain, Oct 9 (PTI) Two grand gateways and a majestic colonnade of 108 ornate pillars made of intricately carved sandstones, gushing fountains and a panel of over 50 murals depicting stories from Shiv Puran are among the major highlights of the soon-to-open ‘Mahakal Lok’ in Ujjain.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on October 11 inaugurate the first phase of the Rs 856-crore Mahakaleshwar Temple corridor development project here, located around 200 km from the state capital Bhopal.

The over 900-metre-long corridor — ‘Mahakal Lok’ — billed as one of the largest such corridors in India skirts around the old Rudrasagar Lake which has also been revived as part of the redevelopment project around the ancient Mahakaleshwar Temple, one of the 12 ‘jyotirlings’ in the country that gets devotees throughout the year.

Two majestic gateways — Nandi Dwar and Pinaki Dwar — separated by a short distance, have been erected near the starting point of the corridor, which winds its way to the entrance of the ancient temple and offers aesthetic views along the way.  Sandstones sourced from Bansi Paharpur area in Rajasthan have been used for building structures that populate the corridor. Artists and craftsmen mainly from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Orissa worked on chiselling and embellishing raw stones into aesthetic pillars and panels, a senior official, associated with the project since its beginning, told PTI.

Sources in the Madhya Pradesh government said the ambitious project that began in 2017 seeks to “emphasise and re-evoke the ancient glory of the historic city of Ujjain” through use of ancient temple architecture while providing all amenities to visitors and using latest technology to enhance its physical and cultural value.

So, while 108 pillars with ornamental elements on top bearing trishul-style design dot the corridor at regular intervals, CCTV cameras and public address system have been harmoniously incorporated in them, they said.

The PA system will be used for making announcements for crowd management and for playing devotional songs once the corridor is opened to the public.

Besides, an integrated control and command centre has been set up to monitor security arrangements in the temple corridor complex.  Chief Executive Officer, Ujjain Smart City, Ashish Kumar Pathak, said Ujjain is an ancient and holy city and old Hindu texts describe the presence of a ‘Mahakal Van’ around the Mahakaleshwar Temple aeons ago.

“The project cannot restore that ancientness that was ages ago, but we have attempted to re-evoke that glory through old, aesthetic architecture used in construction of pillars and other structures in the corridor, and also horticultural species mentioned in Kalidas’s Abhigyan Shakuntalam have been planted in the corridor.

“So, about 40-45 such species having religious importance have been used, including rudraksh, bakul, kadam, belpatra, saptaparni,” he told PTI.

Ujjain, located on the banks of old Kshipra River, is an ancient city that was earlier also known as Ujjainy and Avantika, and associated with the legend of King Vikramaditya.

The Mahakaleshwar Temple is considered one of holiest places on earth by the Hindus, and lakhs of people converge here from all parts of the country during Shravan month of the Hindu calendar or Mahashivratri, besides the Simhasth Kumbh that takes place every 12 years. The Kumbh in Ujjain was last held in 2016.

“The Nag Chandreshwar temple in Ujjain opens only once a year on Nagpanchami, and a massive crowd visits it during that time. The city grows in population during these festive times and that contributed to economy also.

“Therefore, Mahakal temple is not just a religious centre of Ujjain, but it is linked to social, cultural and economic spheres of the city too,” Pathak said.

The CEO of the Ujjain Smart City, which is executing the project, feels that after the opening of the corridor, the current excitement of people will only multiply and lead to a “huge jump” in tourist footfall.

“The ornate columns, the aesthetic-looking fountains, and depictions of various elements from Shiv Puran in murals will enhance the viewers’ experience,” he said.

The mega project after completion will expand the temple complex area from 2.87 ha earlier to 47 ha, and the holding capacity will be significantly enhanced, officials said.

“In the corridor, a 24-m stretch has been made separated in the middle by a row of 108 pillars which also have lampposts on top. The left half, measuring 12 m-wide is for pedestrians, and the other 12-m portion adjacent to the wall bearing 53 murals is for plying of e-vehicles (11-seater golf carts), ambulances and fire brigade vehicles, all of which would be stationed inside the corridor.

“An emergency gate has been made near the Nandi Dwar for movement of large vehicles as per the need,” said Amit Gupta, manager, urban infrastructure and tourism at the consultancy firm of the project.

The pedestrian portion has cobbled stone on ground. The corridor project also includes a huge pavilion — Triveni Mandapam, a gushing fountain with a sculpture of Lord Shiva at the centre, and other fountains adjoining Rudrasagar Lake. About 190 sculptures, showing various forms of Lord Shiva, and other deities, dot the lakefront of the corridor, he said.

‘Mahakal Lok’ development also includes a mid-way zone, a park, a multi-storied parking lot for cars and buses, florist and other shops, solar lighting, a facility centre for pilgrims, water pipeline and sewer line, among other works.

A light and sound system has also been developed, and work on phase two of the project is currently underway. PTI KND TDS TDS

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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