KSA Architects and Planners Pvt Ltd

SKM, Bhavnagar



The SKM Pilgrim and Visitor Center is situated in the ancient port town of Ghogha, in the gulf of Khambhat, near Bhavnagar in Gujarat. This small town is home to one of the oldest mosque in India as well as one of the most important pilgrim centers of the Jain community. Three different communities, the local fishing community, the Jain’s (who have mostly migrated to Bhavnagar and other larger cities of India) and the Muslims (who also have a large expat population in the Middle-east) have survived and lived in close proximity in this small town for centuries. The almost 800 year old temple was being partially re-built by the traditional Sompura’s appointed by the SKM trust. Along with the re-building of the temple, the Trust decided to upgrade and add some more facilities in and around the Temple complex, both for the benefit of the visiting Pilgrims as well as for the local residents of the town. On regular days, the temple is used sparingly – although all the religious services are taken care of. But on a few days every month, there is a large pilgrim population coming from nearby towns and cities. And on really auspicious days, there will be an even larger rush of people coming to visit the temple complex. The New Plan of the temple complex imagined creating facilities in such a way that it caters to all these different levels of crowds. The Program consisted of the following components 1) Pedhi (Office) building with a Library / Study space above 2) Bhata Khatu 3) Trust Office / Archive and Exhibition Space 4) Kesar Sukhad Room 5) Ancillary Block with Toilets, Changing Rooms and Public Dorms 6) Upashraya Six New structures of varying size and requirements were planned in and around the Temple Proper, some within the actual complex and some outside. It was also decided to retain theExisting Remnants of the Fort wall and traditional wooden verandah structure were to be preserved and retained within the new design. The Wooden Verandah was dismantled and re-built during construction in exactly the same condition – but within the temple complex. Overall, the Masterplan imagined the temple complex to integrate well with the layout of the old town. One of the existing smaller roads was re-routed to create a better pedestrian and vehicular movement pattern for the local residents. The facilities required for day to day functioning of the complex were built within the temple compound – whereas the 2 larger structures (the Toilet Block and the Upashraya) which can function independently were kept partly outside the temple compound. The Plot around the temple was irregular shaped. The Buildings were shaped in such a way as to create a strong formal / sacred pradakshina path around the temple proper starting from the entrance to the temple complex to the entry steps of the main temple. The internal facades of the buildings were designed to mirror the architectural qualities of the temple, its rhythm, repetition, scale etc while using a completely different, new and modern vocabulary. The Project is imagined as a continuation of the existing building traditions of the old city of Ghogha. All buildings are built on continuous stone foundations and then depending on their requirements have a composite structure of concrete columns or exposed brick / stone load bearing columns and walls. The roofscape was also imagined as a continuation of the village skyline and varied between the use of sloping roofs and flat roofs. The buildings were simple and built almost exclusively using local unskilled labour. The exposed brick was hand made in Baroda whereare the Red Stone came from Rajula, a small town in Gujarat famous for its stone. The actual temple is built, as is usually the case, in White Marble from Makrana, Rajasthan. This white marble comes in huge slabs and as it is being used for the scultpure and carvings, there is a lot of wastage of material. This material was convereted in the 4” x 4” tiles and used in the flooring of the whole temple compound.