The Temple’s old architecture
The old temple had an ancient architectural style, consisting of a hall, a sanctum sanctorum, some free open space, the temple’s administrative office to the right and a water tank in the front. One can get an idea of what it may have looked like by visiting the Kashi – Vishveshwar temple situated near the Matunga signal near Citilight Cinema.
The Temple’s New architecture
The architect Ar. Shri. Sharad Athale of SK Athale & Associates made an extensive survey of temples in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. The climatic conditions in both states are dry, hot and semi arid for most parts of the year. However considering the hot and humid climatic conditions, heavy monsoon period for nearly 4 months and proximity of the temple to the sea, the architects came to conclusion that the Shiva Temple at
Ambernath would be the ideal role model for this new temple. This Shiva Temple has a solid stone elevation and had faced local climatic condition admirably. Today, the Siddhivinayak temple has undergone a complete architectural transformation, thanks to the efforts of Ar. Shri. Sharad Athale of SK Athale & Associates.
Keeping the idol intact, the temple has been built into unique multiangular, six storeyed structure, that reaches to the skies surmounted with a main central gold plated dome. The other small crowns that surround it are made of gold’s and panchadhatu (five metals). Three main entrances lead to the interior.
The Makhar (frame) of the sanctum sanctorum has been crafted by the father-son duo, Suresh and Mitesh Mistry, with a long-standing tradition in fine intricate design. They have rendered their services at prestigious religious centers which speaks volumes of their expertise. A Marathi artisan crafted the crown of the temple.
The temples renovation commenced in 1990. It was completed in 3 years with an expense of Rupees three crores. The main stones used were marble and pink granite. The temple was designed to be a fine architectural example. Thus, a 200 year old temple was renovated and restored into a magnificent, multistoried and palace like temple.
The first floor of the temple is a mezzanine floor mainly used for puja’s and darshan.
The second floor houses the kitchen used to make Shree’s Maha Naivedya (offering) and a restroom.
The Naivedya prepared in the kitchen is carried to the sanctum sanctorum by an elevater system. The floor is under constant security & vigilance through video cameras. This floor also has the administrative offices of the supervisior and assistant supervisor.
The third floor has the temple central office . It has the committee member’s chamber, the C.E.O. chamber , member’s chamber, conference hall and a computer room that handles all modern administrative and information data processing.
The fourth floor has the temple’s library with an exhaustive collection of 8000 books on religion, literature, medicine, engineering, economics etc. It is continuously updated with new titles and editions. The library also has a study hall for students who can avail of all the priceless collection of books on medicine and engineering for reference or study. This library and study hall is open for all the public free of cost.
The fifth floor is mainly used for food preparations required for festivals and fire offerings. It once housed a solar heater but was dismantled during the renovation phase.
The summit of the temple is a cluster of crowns, 47 gold plated with the main 12 feet crown and 3 fine feet crowns and 33 3.5 feet crowns.
The magnificent and graceful temple’s crown installation and Kumbhabhishek ceremony took place on 13 June 1994 (Hindu Calendar: – Jestha Shukla Chaturthi Shaka 1916) by the auspicious hands of Shree Shankaracharya Dakshinamnay, Shree Shraddha Pitha, Shamgeri, Shree 2008 Bharti Tirtha Mahaswamiji.
During the renovation, the crown of the temple was brought down systematically and as per the customary rites, decorated and mounted in the hall for public viewing. All care and precautions were taken during renovation to preserve the sanctity and purity of the temple and the idol.
The multistoried structure of the temple is designed with walls circling the center in such a manner that there is open space up to the summit, which also serves the purpose of keeping the area above the holy sanctum sanctorum away from footsteps.
The main crown of the temple, a magnificent gold plated dome, represents the Shree’s magnificence, power and presence. Devotee’s who are unable to see the main idol, during rush hours or time constraints, often take darshan of the dome which givens them the same solace. In Pandharpur, during Aashadhi and Kartika Ekadashi, when devotees (varkari) come in huge members to set a glimpse of the diety Vithal, they often take darshan of the Vithal Mandir’s crown.
Shree’s devotees share this same sentiment.
The sanctum sanctorum of the renovated temple is spacious with fine entrances of which three are main entrance with a height of 13 feet. Their tallness enables more than 300 devoteees to see the idol from the main hall, as well as the mezzanine floor, all at one time. The central hall around the sanctum sanctorum has tall seating with stairs. Beyond the stain is a huge platform for pooja’s, mahapujas etc.
This platform too has a view of Shree Siddhivinayak which adds to the satisfaction of the pooja’s taking place. The platform is also used for taking Shree’s darshan on specific days like Tuesday, Sankashthi Chaturthi and Angarkhi Chaturthi, when the number of devotees reaches to about 2 lakhs. On these days the pujas are carried out on the mezzanine floor, which too has a view of Shree Sidhivinayak.
After the pooja rites are over, after 1 a.m. devotees can have darshan from the mezzanine floor, which facilitates devotees who can go back to work within ten to fifteen minutes.
The whole architectural design is centered around the convenience of the devotees. The renovation and restoration was done not only to the structure of the temple but also to the faith of the devotees.