For the Ganeshotsav celebrations this year, the Sahyadri Krida Mandal of Tilak Nagar, Chembur, is erecting an exact replica of Hampi’s historical Vitthala temple for the astronomical sum of Rs2 crore — a record.
The mandal has always been in the news for two reasons: its elaborate pandals and its clandestine funding by underworld don Chhota Rajan — though the organisers deny this.
To meet the September 11 Ganeshotsav deadline, more than 300 workers, including engineers, architects, tracers and carpenters, are doing double shifts. When ready, the replica will be 130 feet long, 40 feet wide and 35 feet high, and will be housed in the colony’s community hall.
The Vitthala temple — Vitthala is an avatar of Vishnu — is the most ornate of the temples in Hampi, which is near Hospet in Karnataka. The temple was constructed in the 15th century. Its front portion consists of a huge mahamandapam (pillared hall).
The pedestal has friezes depicting swans, horses and warriors. The flight of steps on the east of the hall is bordered by an elephant handrail.
Remarkably, all these details will be incorporated in the Tilak Nagar replica, which is being supervised by Rashid Rangrez, a winner of the National Film Award for Best Art Direction for the film Waris Shah.
“I spent more than two months along with my team of experts at Hampi to study the structural dimensions and other architectural peculiarities of the temple,” Rangrez told DNA. “We prepared drawings of the motifs and studied the symmetric dimensions to prepare the final design.”
The cost of the project was not divulged by the people concerned, but experts said it would easily be well over Rs2 crore.
“Work starts at 7am and goes on till 9pm – practically a double shift. Even if a worker is paid Rs400 a day, multiply that by 60 (the number of days it is likely to take for the replica to be put up) and just the wage bill comes to a staggering Rs72 lakh,” said a labour contractor associated with the film industry.
Another expert said: “The materials — wood, moulds, iron, plaster of Paris, cement, sand, paint, bricks, etc — are very expensive. The cost of procuring them would well be over a crore.”