Shivaji memorial in sea to bear stamp of Maratha architecture | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Shivaji memorial in sea to bear stamp of Maratha architecture

A 12-storey structure in the middle of the sea, with architecture typical of the era of the Maratha empire and construction material similar to what was used in building sea forts at the time — the BJP-led Maharastra government has drawn up grand plans for its showpiece Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2016 18:26 IST
Manasi Phadke

A 12-storey structure in the middle of the sea, with architecture typical of the era of the Maratha empire and construction material similar to what was used in building sea forts at the time — the BJP-led Maharastra government has drawn up grand plans for its showpiece Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial.

The entrance to the memorial, proposed to be built in the Arabian Sea, will be a replica of the entrance arch of the Raigad Fort, the capital of the Maratha empire under Chhatrapati Shivaji. The archway will lead visitors into an entrance forecourt, modelled on the palaces and wadas of the Maratha empire.

Inside the courtyard, the state government has planned a pool surrounded by ‘deepastambhas,’ tall pillars of lamps characteristically seen in the courtyards of Hindu temples. Besides, the courtyard will also have a facsimile of the Tulja Bhavani temple in Osmanabad with it being the family deity of the Bhosale royal family. The forecourt is proposed to have subsidiary courts on the sides, accommodating a 10-bed hospital, security staff barracks and other service-related activities.

A senior official from the state public works department said the design consultant, Egis India, has estimated the total cost of the project to be around Rs3,200 crore.

“The cost can change, as this is a first-of-a-kind project with no benchmarks available. The actual cost will be determined only once we receive bids from contractors,” he said.

The entire project is proposed to come up on a 13.07-hectare rocky outcrop in the Arabian Sea, of which the state will develop 7.01 hectare in the first phase to cater to 10,000 visitors a day and the rest in the second phase to accommodate an additional 15,000 visitors a day. The memorial is touted to have the world’s tallest statue at 192m. The height of the actual sculpture with Chhatrapati Shivaji in an equestrian pose mounted on a Marwari horse will be 114.4m, while the pedestal will be 77.6m, accommodating viewing decks, exhibition halls, museums and restaurants.

The state government plans to use the same material used in the construction of the Maratha warrior king’s ancient sea forts. “The agency appointed to draw up detailed design plans studied the architecture and building materials of Chhatrapatii Shivaji’s existing sea forts and other structures from the time of the Maratha empire. The structures were built using local stone blocks, laterite or basalt, laid in a lime mortar. Laterite is still abundantly available in the whole region and is easy to mine, cut into blocks and chisel,” a state government official said.

The ground level is also proposed to have a flag post, an amphitheatre with a capacity to accommodate 1,500 people, a helipad for VIP and emergency access, and a VIP guest house. For access for the general public, the state government is planning four jetties – Colaba’s Radio Club, NCPA in Nariman Point, Sagar Sangam near Nerul in Navi Mumbai. Of these, the jetty at Radio Club with a capacity to handle 2,000 visitors a day to reach the memorial in 20 minutes, and the one at Sagar Sangam with a capacity for 8,000 visitors a day to reach the memorial in an hour will be taken up in the first phase itself.

The project was originally conceived in the 1980s and has been a talking point for all political parties ever since. Grappling tension within the Maratha community, the BJP-led Maharashtra government is now racing ahead with the project, aiming to conduct a bhoomipujan next month before the model code of conduct comes into force for the Mumbai civic polls.