In August of 1999 the foundation of Iraivan temple was poured. At the time, the lead engineer exclaimed: “This hasn’t happened for 2,000 years! It’s historic. Not since the Greeks and Romans has such a massive placement of concrete been completed without a single crack. Not even a hairline fissure.” Dr. Mehta’s joy spread throughout Kauai’s Hindu Monastery and the island. The 117′ 6″ by 56′ by 4′ foundation weighs over 4 million pounds and took exactly 108 cement trucks to place. Founder and Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, who had declared it must last 1,000 years, now knew that it would.
This pioneering project was made of a special mix that reduces Portland cement about 40% and replaces it with the pozzelon coal fly ash. Dr. Mehta noted that this makes a superior concrete, stronger, more durable, harder and even cheaper. It’s adoption by nations and industries could radically reduce the greenhouse global warming problem, for which cement production worldwide is responsible for an astonishing six percent.
Aum Namah Sivaya
Today we celebrate the completion of the stone laying for Iraivan Temple's lava rock wall! Jai!
There are still a few finishing touches, primarily the of staining grout joints, but the main wall structure is finished. Umut and his team have set the last stone, relocated the leftover stones, and deconstructed their tenting around the perimeter. Now we can all marvel at this wonderful addition which bring the temple ever closer to its completion. Aum.
Recently our masonry team, who has been building the lava rock wall around Iraivan Temple, has completed the rock laying on the north side of the foundation. They had already completed the east side which faces Rishi Valley. The North end of the temple faces Dakshinamurti, and with this section completed, the team is focused on completed the west side which is already quite far along. Aum.
After several weeks of grey cloud-cover and massive amounts of rainfall, today our monks have enjoyed a full day of bright sun and blue, rainless skies. The grounds are already beginning to warm up and the many well-watered plants are bursting at the seams with fruits and new growth. This is a perfect chance to work on the remaining tile-replacement around Kadavul Temple. While the area we'd been working on out front has been finished, the focus now turns to the temple-side path that leads to the small Ganesha shrine. While some tiles are cracked, many can be restored and reset. Aum.
Gurudeva loved the idea of a black lava rock plinth sitting below the almost white granite stones of the temple, making the impression (especially once the landscaping is in place) that the temple sits atop a small mountain. This sense of elevation and color contrast is part of the magic he envisioned.
Yesterday the team (originally from Turkey) removed the tent shelters on the East side of the temple, revealing for the first time the completed plinth. There is more to be done on the other sides in the months ahead. It was last May that this project began, after years of planning and fund-raising. So, ten full months of work, and a few more to go. We took some photos last May when it began and offer today a simple photo-timelapse of the project, including at the end some close-ups of the finished effect. Now you have to imagine bronze panels populating the 14" by 47" frames on the perimeter wall. Elegant is a word that comes to mind.
This week Umut and his team from Innov8 construction have begin adding the top layer of stones to Iraivan Temple's lava rock wall. The east side of the wall is nearing completion and this is the last layer of added stone upon it. They are able to move quickly, since this part doesn't require large amounts of concrete. It does however need a very strong mix that can withstand the countless years of rains that will fall upon these top pieces. Umut must also go through ever joint while the concrete is wet and make it look more natural and finished. He tells us that once we remove the tarps, to won't take long for the elements to turn all the stones a uniform dark-grey color. It should look striking in juxtaposition to the white granite temple above. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Aum Namah Sivaya
After many years of bright sun and heavy rains, certain ares of slate tile outside of Kadavul Temple have become loose. With water collecting underneath them, the grout was failing and some tiles were even breaking under uneven pressure. In an effort to remedy the issue, Vishvanathaswami and Tejadevanatha spent several days removing large portions of tile and cleaning up the concrete beneath them. They were able to rescue most of the original tiles, meaning we won't have to purchase many replacement pieces. Soon after their work, our hired worker Doug went about placing the tiles with fresh mortar and grout. He made sure to properly slope the tile, which had not been properly done before. This is what was causing a lot of the issues, as rain water would collect rather than flow off of them. After nearly a week of work the job is much closer to completion, with only a few more sections of new tile to lay. Aum.
Here at the aadheenam, the work on the temple continues. After several weeks break, our lavarock wall team is back on the job and progressing around the northern side of the temple. The silpis are working on the tops of the pillars inside. They are removing calcite buildup and stains while also improving the grout joints. In related news, progress is being made on the planning for the granite tiles which will reside atop the temple's outer plinth. Aum Namah Sivaya
Aum Namah Sivaya
Currently, the siplis are working on several smaller projects in and around the main temple structure. Near the entrance, Adaikalam is carving flowers into the small square portions at the base of the pillars. On the outside of the temple, around the alcoves that surround the inner sanctum, Manikandan and Murugesan are working to fill some small wall sections where certain stones meet in the corners. Aum.
A new pathway is being built near the Path of the Saiva Satgurus. It gives a formal exit to the path for future pilgrims who are returning to their cars at the Visitors' Center. Happily, it is being done by none other than Dennis Wong, who has worked for 40 years on the monastery land, building roads, ponds and gardens. Dennis arranged for the large equipment to be loaned to the monastery for free! Thank you, Dennis.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.