Back again at the Iraivan carving site in Bengaluru. Every corner of the expansive shed has one or another of our projects displayed.
In one corner the team has taken apart the Satguru statues and their massive Chola bases (each of the eight bases is of a different design). Turns out the carvers in Mahabalipluram were not so careful about the squareness of the pithams, and our team is eager to make them perfect, knowing they will be done only once and there is no option once they reach Kauai for improvements.
There are also changes to be made on the faces of the satgurus. Yogaswami's head was made oddly large, and much discussion surrounds how best to make it right. Bodhinatha's murthi was shipped back to the original carver, after it developed a crack that could not be repaired. Gurudeva's robes seem too well polished, giving them an almost metallic feel, so there will be some effort to soften that texture. Also, his beard is somewhat too square and will be fixed.
We spent a long time discussing the Perimeter Wall details. This is one of the major yet-to-be-done Iraivan projects and will take some 2 years or so to complete. This wall surrounds the temple, and is almost 500 feet long in all.
There will be 48 selections of text etched in white on polished black granite panels, telling of the story of Iraivan, of the visions that lead up to it, and some of the philosophy the monastery represents.
We examined the completed steps that take the pilgrim up to the iraivan floor level at the rajagopuram. We also had a chance to chat with Dr. Mohan, a marvelous writer whose trek to Mount Kailash was our Insight Section in the last magazine. He may be doing additional features for us in the future.
One of our great joys was to be with the Rajasankaran family, to talk informally, get to know the 18-month old Chinmayee. It was Svapna's mother's birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday and gave her some small gifts.