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Ayodhya Ram Mandir: Meet Chandrakant Sompura, the family behind designing temples for generations

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New Delhi, Aug 03: For the Ahmedabad-based architects, the Supreme Court order, which cleared the way for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, has been a long wait of three decades.

Ram Mandir

As August 5 approaches, Chandrakant Sompura, 77, who comes from a family of temple architects that have designed over 200 such structures, including the Akshardham and Somnath temples of Gujarat, will now see their vision materialise in Ayodhya in the form of the Ram Mandir, whose construction is expected to start next month.

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Sompura said that he was asked to prepare a design for the Ram temple by late leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Ashok Singhal, around 30 years ago.

He said designing the Ram temple was an uphill task 30 years back, as he had to prepare drawings using his footsteps as the unit of measurement.

Chandrakant Sompura, is the grandson of Prabhashankar who had designed the Sompura Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.

The Ram Temple project is being handled by two of the youngest members of this clan, Nikhil (55) and Ashish (49), under the wings of their father Chandrakant (77), who now works from home due to his age.

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    The temple has been modelled in keeping with the 'Nagara' style - one of the three primary architecture systems that govern temple construction in India, the others being Dravidian and Basar - and adheres to the principles of Vastu shastra.

    He made a grand design for the Ram Temple which was later approved by saints during the Allahabad Kumbh in the early 1990s.

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    Based on his design, artisans have been working in several locations, carving the stones for the temple construction. According to Sompura, nearly 40 percent of the stone carvings have been completed and he is confident that the construction will be completed within 24 and 30 months after the foundation has been laid.

    Chandrakant's father Prabhakar Sompura, was the architect of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat and the temple in Mathura, the mythological birthplace of Lord Krishna.

    The 'bhoomi pujan' (ground-breaking) ceremony of the temple in Ayodhya is scheduled to be held on August 5, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend, as told by the members of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra, a trust formed to oversee its construction.

    Chandrakant Sompura who followed his father's footsteps has designed 131 temples, along with his son Ashish. This includes the Swami Narayan Temple in Gandhinagar, Ambaji Temple in Palanpur and several others.

    In November last year, the Supreme Court had paved the way for the construction of Ram temple by at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot an alternative five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a new mosque at a "prominent" place in the holy town in Uttar Pradesh.

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