Mahaprasthanam A Hindu Crematorium Image Credit: Insite
Mahaprasthanam A Hindu Crematorium Image Credit: Insite

Mahaprasthanam – A Hindu Crematorium

The client Phoenix Foundation with the local Municipal Corporation commissioned the studio with the task of evolving a state-of-the-art crematorium from the neglected 3.7 acre existing crematory/cemetery envisaged to accommodate the Hindu cremation rituals, culturally and contextually.

Philosophically, as mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, life’s purpose is fulfilled when one goes through the sixteen phases called Shodasha Samskara and death is illustrated as a journey in search of perfection and eventual Moksha. Antyesti, the final stage of life is the funeral ritual, segmented into five major stages – preparation, cremation, mourning, purification and commemoration – the last rite is fulfilled.

‘Mahaprasthanam’, consists of a sequential series of structures, spatially manifesting the range of emotions from mourning to the celebration of the departed. Due to building on an existing crematory, the open land pockets left a scattered layout to the built forms rendering an organic blueprint. The terra cotta-tiled pathway at ‘Mahaprasthanam’ leads through this narrative epitomising the significance of love and loss as continuity. The built forms conceptually symbolise the spatial significance of embrace to console and comfort the loved ones through the enclosed pavilions, honour through the silent bow of the waiting halls and liberation of the lost in a final farewell through the Pyre, opening skywards thus completing the circle of life on earth. The forms are an abstraction of the notion of eternal embrace; nothing can soothe the pa

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