Nashik is one of the ancient holy cities in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and here in the small village of Kalvan, stands an all-black-stoned temple popularly known as Maruti Mandir. This temple space is an important part of the village since the olden times. It was situated at the heart of a small village and provided the local people with an affordable and accessible place of worship. However, the old temple structure had fallen into disrepute, leading to its being dismantled entirely so that they could reconstruct it. And thus arrived the need to build the new one.

Architects: Within N Without
Area: 2220 sq ft
Year of Construction: 2015
Lead Architect: Ar. Shailesh Devi
City: Nashik, Maharashtra, India

Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet1
All-black stoned temple of Kalvan Village ©Vikrant Dashputre

Sustaining with Surroundings

The architecture firm ‘Within N Without’ was given charge of the project to replace the ram shackled Maruti mandir temple with a new sacred structure. This newly constructed Maruti mandir temple plays an important role in the socio-cultural and spiritual life of the community. Not only it still serves as an affordable and accessible asset for local people but also remains an integral part of the neighborhood. It also integrates with the surroundings as well as the lives of the people as the many other places of worship in the region. ‘WithinNWithout’ began work on the new design after the previous temple was demolished. The new design by the firm has given the Maruti Mandir temple a new life while still keeping the people connected to it as if it was never new. The serene new all-black revamp structure is perched on the old structure’s existing plinth. 

The Maruti Mandir remains geographically and visually separate from the rest of the settlement. Thus, even though the complex is separated from the rest of the settlement, the temple is not easily seen from outside its surroundings and the approach road, except for some particularly high vantage points. This Temple plays a significant role in the socio-cultural and religious life of the people living here. The temple works as an affordable and accessible strength for simple local people who are among the low-rise housing community in Nashik. It is an essential part of the local life system.

Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet2
Location of the temple with respect to surroundings © archdaily.com
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet3
The Mandir integrates with the surroundings as well as the lives of the people © Vikrant Dashputre
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet4
The Maruti Mandir remains geographically and visually separate from the rest of the settlement. © Vikrant Dashputre

The Design Approach

The within n without a team has strengthened the design of the Maruti Mandir out of several concerns in the surroundings. they have addressed the diverse user groups effectively and considering the social relations, interactions and movements of people as a vital aspect of the design and layout of the complex. They have successfully created the design composition with a judicious selection of elements in their appropriate form, scale, and proportions.

The temple is not easily seen from outside its surroundings and the approach road, notwithstanding the projection of this complex at the first glimpse, except some particularly high vantage points. It is because they design the temple elevation with stepped progression to scale down the monumentality of the temple structure in the complex, which may be felt dominating the setting. The firm justifies its decision for choosing the eye-catching all-black exterior with the reason that they aimed to reduce the appearance of its mass.

Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet5
Sections and Views © archdaily.com

Play of Light in the Design

The architects have used an intricate play of light for the interior design of the Maruti Mandir. they have created a space that changes as worshipers move from the entrance towards the core of the building. Other considerations that played an important role in the temple’s configuration and layout were the interactions and movement of people within the space. As one moves from the entrance to the core of the building, the interior of the space changes.

The firm’s design approach is Exploratory and accommodative which moves beyond form and function. It establishes the interrelationship of built to open and physical to metaphysical that plays a paramount role. With the help of the play of lights in the interior of the building, they have created a space that changes as worshippers move around the venue. This Careful handling of light and changes in sense of enclosure has created a visually striking experience while one moves from the entrance towards the core.

Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet6
Intricate play of light for the interior design of the Maruti Mandir ©Vikrant Dashputre
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet7
Intricate play of light for the interior design of the Maruti Mandir ©Vikrant Dashputre 
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet8
As one moves from the entrance to the core of the building the interior of the space changes © Vikrant Dashputre
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet9
rustic charm through the use of local stone © Vikrant Dashputre

Construction Concerning the Local

The ‘ Within N Without ‘ team has set the structure of the new Maruti Mandir on the same existing plinth of the old dilapidated temple. They have maintained its rustic charm through the use of local stone. The same stone is holding the whole structure together.

As the buildings are constructed from the local black stone, it relates to its context in both scale and form. The stepped progression of the temple’s all-black façade reduces the appearance of the building’s mass. This prevents the temple structure from 

dominating everything in its surroundings.

Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet10
They design the temple elevation with stepped progression to scale down the monumentality of temple structure in the complex © Vikrant Dashputre
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet11
Structure of the new Maruti Mandir is set on the same existing plinth © Vikrant Dashputre
Maruti Mandir by Shailesh Devi: At the Centre of the Village - Sheet12
The space for worship © Vikrant Dashputre
Urmi Angne
Author

She is an architecture student currently studying in 3rd year, she likes writing particularly about all the architectural stuff and loves photography. She is still exploring on which architectural styles she is interested in and therefore using architectural writing and sketching as a way of discovering that.

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