The Mumbai-based architecture firm claims that design of the Shaurya Smarak (war memorial), being interpreted as a shrine, has taken reference from the historical edifices of traditional Indian temples like those at Ellora, Khajuraho and Modhera.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the memorial on Friday.
Shona Jain of UCJ Architecture and Environment said, “The war memorial is distinctly different from others in the country or outside, as it is an immersive experience generating a silent dialogue between the departed and the visitor and it provides for a lot more than the ceremonial wreath-laying.”
The entire premises of the smarak covers an area of 12.67 acres with built-up area of approximately 8000 sq meter. The cost is about `41 crore (including gallery installations).
As per the firm, the memorial is deeply rooted in traditional temple architecture of the country while the primordial geometry follows the concept of multiple chambers culminating in a ‘Garbha Griha’ where final homage is paid and pradakshina can be taken.
She said the red sculpture was an abstract form intentionally interpretative. “It is a “Vandana” or “Namaskar” from the main axis and it also represents a “Drop of blood”, in reverence of the sacrifice, from other viewpoints,” she said.
An eternal jyoti (light) at the 62-foot stambh will be lit in reverence to martyrs and represented by a state-of-the-art holographic image.
“The stambh, rising from the ground, depicts the life of a soldier – the guardians of our country steered by a sense of patriotism, elevating them to a higher position. Each granite disc of the stambh represents this ascent. The earth (Army), water (Navy) and air (Air Force) are represented through the solidity of the granite stambh, the water body and the lightness of the white marble stone pedestal respectively,” she said.
Shona said primarily natural materials have been chosen to generate the ambience and experiences.
The Memorial has been envisaged as a journey through the various experiences of life, war, death and the liberation of the Spirit (victory over death), all exhibited ‘through an extremely non-archetypal design’.
“The arrival and life on earth is symbolised by the plaza or public square defined by the hard and soft textures of earth – brick, grass and water. War gets reflected in the circular geometry representing a crater inflicted on earth. Humanity is distressed by calamity, deprivation and destruction. The texture is symbolic of the harshness of war – rough, chiselled local stone.”
“The small dark cube signifies death - an arena of melancholy, sorrow and lost hopes. It is the opportunity to experience the sudden darkness of death. Because of its darkness and scale there can be hope for victory over death.
In death, the physical form vanishes and the spirit survives. Being indestructible, we use the analogy of the eternal spirit in the final experience zone. The installation of a grid of transparent rods illuminated at the base and composed in disciplined military formation are symbolic in their aesthetics,” said Shona.