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Newsletter June 2005


The Matrimandir is pushing ahead towards completion with an increasingly remarkable and visible speed.

In the month of May, when the temperatures climb to 40 degrees C. and the human beings on the scene tend to drip with sweat and droop in the blazing sun, it's as if the Matrimandir itself had decided to counterbalance this season's natural slowdown by moving things ahead at an even faster pace.
Take, for example the scene that is visible any morning from a vantage point 100 meters from the main sphere on the North axis: some seventy people, divided into three teams, can be seen busy at work up on the structure. They start work at 6 am to beat the heat of the day. One team, on the left, is putting the discs back up on the outer skin, for on that quadrant the new waterproofing layer has been applied from top to bottom. Row by horizontal row, the shining golden discs are being remounted on their stainless steel legs.
To their right, two other teams are at work: the one lower down is applying the fresh waterproofing coat to the outer skin, while a third team is busy, some ten meters higher, building the scaffolding and preparing platforms for the team that will remove the discs.
As if one group were chasing the other, each team works quickly to stay ahead of the one behind it, for nobody wants their team to be accused of holding up the work! These acrobatics on the Matrimandir are well coordinated now that we have the hang of it, and the progress of the work is very visible.

High up on the scaffolding: Matrimandir ‘acrobats' at work


Coming back to our position on the North axis, and listening, one can hear the steady rumble of a large diesel-fuelled air compressor which sits on the West axis, just beyond the large petals surrounding the Matrimandir. It is supplying air to the sand-blasting gun of a fourth team which is at work early today. This team is busy inside the Matrimandir, removing the paint from a section of one of the two spiral ramps that lead from the second level up to the Inner Chamber. Sandblasting is the first step in the process of repainting the ramps. The project creates a huge amount of dust inside the building, despite the elaborate plastic-and-gunny bag enclosures that have been set up around the work area to contain it. It is urgent that this work is done now because it has to be completed before finishing the work on the inner skin. In any case, it is clear now that the work on the Inner Chamber will not be completed before September, and even if it were ready sooner, the access via the ramp would not be possible until both ramps have been sandblasted. This and the subsequent repainting of both ramps may take about four months….and only then will we be able to move on to the works which require a dust-free environment for their execution.

The Inner Chamber is sealed off from this dust storm and has its own temporary A/C machine to cool and dry the air inside there while the work on the ceiling and the installation of the new A/C ducts is going on. The Chamber's center has been filled by the aluminum scaffolding, built up over the well-shielded crystal globe to reach the top of the ceiling where the modification work is proceeding smoothly.

Even in the midst of the roof modifications, the beauty and stateliness of the Inner Chamber remain unperturbed by all the activities going on there


On May 3 rd the original cone at the apex of the ceiling through which the sun's ray has descended up to now was opened and the large lens used for focusing the ray was removed. The cone has now been rebuilt in a new form to accommodate several changes in the ceiling design. The new central opening will house not only the ray-focusing lens , but will also accommodate the artificial light to be used when there is no sun, as well as allowing the cooled A/C air to pass through this space into the Chamber below. This job is quite complex and will take a few more months to complete.

Returning to our station on the North axis outside the Matrimandir, we cannot help but notice the other activity which is going on at this early morning hour: the constant back and forth movement of tipper lorries (dump trucks) passing just behind us on the Oval road that encircles the gardens area. The trucks are busy on the eastern edge of the Oval carrying loads of soil that a powerful excavator is carving out of the earth on a section of the Oval road.

Swirls of dust generated by the excavator at work on the oval road

Until recently this area was occupied by the old workshops and offices of Matrimandir. Over the last one year all these structure have been moved outside of the Oval, allowing the present operation to get underway. The excavator has been in action for three weeks to bring the ground down to the “zero” level, the average horizontal level given for the whole ring road. On the western end of the gardens, where the old Workers Camp used to be, the level of the ground is below this zero level, so the lorries are busy carrying the excavated earth to that area, to bring it up to the desired level. It is a huge work, one that would have taken hundreds of men months to do by hand, as it was done thirty-five years ago when the crater for Matrimandir's foundation was excavated.

With this step completed, the gardens area will have been brought roughly into the shape required by the original design. Though there is still a lot of fine tuning of the levels to be done in this freshly excavated section, the bulk of the work is over. And the stage is thus set for the next phase: the laying down of the garden infrastructure, the water and power lines that will feed the irrigation and lighting systems of the future gardens. The creation of this infrastructure is a big job which will be tackled in the coming months, while continuing the many other works now underway to complete the structure by the end of next year.

At noon, the acrobats are noticeably absent from the scaffolding on the northeastern quadrant of Matrimandir.



Please note; The visiting procedure for visiting the Matrimandir has changed,
please read about the details >>


M A T R I M A N D I R - A U R O V I L L E   6 0 5 1 0 1 -
T A M I L N A D U - I N D I A
Tel. (91) (0413) 262-2268 (sectt); 262-2228 (finance); 262-2153
(workshop); 262-2373 (info). FAX: (91) (0413) 262-2053;

email: matrimandir@auroville.org.in

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