1992 - 2000
Experts started working on drawings for the Inner
Chamberís air conditioning in 1989 and made decisions about the type of
system in May 1992. In this year the underground space for the chilling
plant (at the Amphitheater) had been cast and the spaces for the air-handling
units inside the north and south ribs of Matrimandir were complete.
During these times the first plans were made for the solar panel plant that was to supply the system with electricity. This plant is up and running since 1997, having replaced conventional current derived from a nuclear power plant. Although it does not cover the Chamber's air conditioning, it supplies about 20 KW of power to the Matrimandir's electrical infrastructure, thereby taking care of the full lighting load of the structure (including the spotlights in the Chamber and the motors of the heliostat) as well as one of the Matrimandir waterpumps.
The carpet - woven in India from imported wool - was ready early in 1994. It took six months to weave the twelve sections and two spare pieces, which cover the entire floor area of the Chamber. The process of laying the carpet took nearly six days to finish, beginning on the 19th of February.
The seventy centimeter diameter 'crystal' globe, the only one of its kind, is the biggest optically perfect glass globe ever made in the world. On arrival at Madras Airport in April 1991, it was passed through customs in record time and driven straight to Auroville. The next morning it was hoisted in its packing crate up to the Inner Chamber.
Mother said that four of Sri Aurobindo's symbols - standing upright and joined together at the corners - should carry the crystal globe in Matrimandir. During the time that the symbols were being manufactured (between 1992 and 1993) the crystal was placed on top of a prototype of the four Sri Aurobindo symbols. In 1993 the prototype was replaced with the finished symbols.
The gold discs
The outer skin of Matrimandir is to be totally covered
by decorative, golden, concave and convex discs. Mounted onto the structure
by a system of metal rods, they will have the practical function of shading
the building from the strong sunlight of south-India.
By October 1996 no doubts were left about the best solution for the golden discs. After several months of research in Asia and Europe, the method was chosen of encasing the gold leaf between two thin layers of glass, sealed at the edges, to yield something like a 4 x 4 cm gold 'tile'. It offers a solution which answers not only requirements of durability but also easy maintenance. The gold will be safe inside the glass which can be scrubbed, brushed and sprayed. Replacement of one or more of the gold tiles can also be done easily.
The gold leaves are manufactured in Germany and are of a high quality (28 g of gold per 1000 leaves). About 18 kilos of gold will be required - 750,000 leaves in all, of about 85 x 85 mm and of 8 microns thick.
As of December 2000, 852 golden discs have been mounted on the structure's skin.
The heliostat and lens
The heliostat, fixed on the top of Matrimandir, is
a device for tracking the sun and projecting a single ray of sunlight
onto the crystal globe inside the Inner Chamber. The amount of light and
heat on the crystal globe was studied by French and German engineers.
The present heliostat was fabricated at Matrimandir itself and its components
were ready for assembly in September of 1993. Tests were carried out to
satisfaction by August 1994. In May of the next year a 45 centimeter diameter
lens with focal length of thirty meter (manufactured in India) was installed
for focussing the sun ray in a converging beam that strikes the globe
inside the chamber.
The twelve stone-clad 'petals' around the Matrimandir form an intrinsic part of the complex. This is not only so because they add to the image of the New Consciousness breaking forth from Matter, but also since they - as the main structure itself - are to be centres for 'silence and concentration' with meditation rooms built inside each of them. Once completed, each of these circular spaces will carry the name and colour of one of the 'petals' of the Mother's symbol, so that users can choose the appropriate space according to their need of the moment.
The petals are fanning from the promenade around the
pond beneath the Matrimandir and extending for over forty meters, gradually
descending to ground level and the inner gardens. There are twelve pathways
between the petals, four of which lead directly into Matrimandir via staircases
between the pillars, and eight of which lead to the pond underneath. Each
petal will contain an egg-shaped meditation room corresponding in colour
and vibration to qualities like sincerity, aspiration and others. Circling
the big petals there are twelve smaller, mainly grass covered petals,
which lead onto the inner gardens.
The first meditation room in the first petal, on the left side of the main entrance to Matrimandir,is nearly completed.
Mother said that the gardens are as important as Matrimandir
itself. The beginnings of the garden go back to 1970 when the location
of the Matrimandir Nursery was chosen. However, it wasnít until late 1987
that a design for the inner gardens was approved. In 1991, work on the
rose garden west of the Amphitheater began. 1,700 roses in 25 beds were
planted by March 1992. The irrigation system was installed to follow the
general layout of the gardens.
The gold discs
The heliostat >> more
The gardens >> more
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