Temple in Stone and Light Barmer Image Credit: Insite
Temple in Stone and Light Barmer Image Credit: Insite

Temple in Stone and Light, Barmer

India has a glorious history of temple architecture.

The desert state of Rajasthan, where the temple is located, has an equally diverse and refined heritage of buildings set in an unforgiving climatic zone. Given this legacy, the clients brief to design a contemporary Hindu temple set in the sand dunes of Rajasthan, within the premises of their power plant in the village of Bhadresh, has been an enormous challenge. With prominent industrial structures, as a backdrop, the brief is to evolve a form intended as a contemporary interpretation of a traditional temple.

The structured symbolism of traditional architecture was filtered to evolve a form that represents the contemporary times, which still can achieve a space that can evoke spiritual energy by referring to the roots of the symbolic nature of a Shiva temple. By cherishing traditional temple typology, the materiality in this design was inspired by the beauty of stone usage embraced by local construction techniques. The design – with its strong form, stark quality and play of light on warm stone – seeks to evoke visual and tactile senses of the worshiper.

The architecture of the temple combines the heavy materiality of the stone with the lightness of the form, where the solid looking stone exterior dissolves as the night dawns and transforms into a glittering delicate lantern in the stark desert landscape. Interlocking stone joinery is employed to let light filter into the sanctum of the temple, during the day, whereas LED lighting is used to transform the structure in the nighttime. At night, the light turns the temple inside out, extending an invitation to those outside while rewarding those within. This gesture also subtly seeks to illuminate

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