BEFORE performing the bhoomipujan for the B R Ambedkar memorial at a seafront plot in central Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be briefed by the project’s architectural firm, Shashi Prabhu and Associates, on the final appearance of the Rs 425.16-crore memorial. The memorial will come up on a 4.8-hectare plot at Indu Mills next to Chaityabhoomi, where Ambedkar’s ashes are interred. The prime attraction would be a 150-feet statue of Ambedkar and a stupa-like structure.
The main elements of the memorial from the design presentation:
* The construction would be at two levels, ground and podium. The ground level will house a museum, an auditorium, parking facilities, a library, facilities for visitors and other services. The podium level will be covered with greenery and will accommodate the stupa and the statue. At Rs 110.95 crore, the stupa would be the most expensive portion of the project.
* Rising 40 metres into the skyline with a diameter of 80 metres, the stupa will have a ribbed ceiling resembling the Buddhist Chaityas in parts of Maharashtra. At the top of the stupa, with a built-up area of 2,400 square metres, would be an eight-tier bronze canopy representing the Buddha’s eight-fold path. At the foot of the dome would be a lotus pond. At night, the stupa would be doused in a soft golden light.
* The museum galleries with a built-up area of 3,681 square metres would be built near a water pool, re-sculpted from an existing water source. A holograph would be created to create a mirage of Ambedkar making speeches.
* The design will retain most of the 200 trees standing on the plot. Besides, most construction will be covered by earth berms, which is an architectural style that uses natural terrain to form the walls of a structure and is known to be an effective sound barrier so that there is complete quiet inside the memorial.
* The main entrance to the structure would be from the adjacent Veer Savarkar Marg, popularly known as Dadar’s Cadell Road, while Prabhadevi’s SKS Marg will have a secondary access point. There would also be a link between the memorial and Chaityabhoomi for easy movement of crowds, especially December 6, Ambedkar’s death anniversary, when a large number of followers assemble in the Shivaji Park-Chaityabhoomi area to pay their respects.
* Shashi Prabhu, chief architect, said, “Following the bhoomipujan, MMRDA will call for bids to appoint a contractor to implement the work, while we supervise it from the design perspective. We hope to start construction by March 2016.”