Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh

Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh

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Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
photographs: Saransh

‘Being a winter Kumbh, the work has to be executed in freezing temperatures with some spells of rain raising the level of difficulty; adding to the challenge, the land for the camp is allotted merely 20 to 30 days before the Mela commences, given the changing course of the river and the Mela being established on the river bed of the Ganges’ says Malini Doshi, Founding Partner, Saransh

Overview

Kumbh camps are set up for each of the Kumbh Melas, every 3 years, to accommodate the mass influx of pilgrims for the event. Since 2004, a recurring project has been undertaken by Studio Saransh for Prabhu Premi Sangh, a Spiritual Organisation, and a temporary camp was set up for the Prayagraj Mahakumbh in 2019 too.

Organisation of Camp

With each passing year – as the organisation grows – the camp size, requirements and detailing have grown too. The Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp was the largest camp of the Maha Kumbh 2019 at Prayagraj. The development of the form and language for the camp, was a reflection of the vision of the Spiritual Head of the organisation. This was achieved with an architectural theme from Madhya Pradesh. The camp was conceived like a traditional Indian fortress, which would typically have within a Palace, a Temple, a Yagyashala and houses to accommodate the permanent residents as well as visitors. So, the camp boundary was designed to resemble a fortress; the Datt Sadan (Residential block of the Spiritual Head) had the look of a Palace – achieved using intricate polystyrene work made to resemble stone carvings, and all the other residential blocks were decorated with rich paintings typically found in traditional towns of Madhya Pradesh.

The layout of the site plan was such that a person entering the camp would get a panoramic view of the site, hence a central ‘Darshan Chowk’ of dimension 172-ft x 132-ft was planned with important buildings surrounding it. The camp is designed keeping in mind the mass influx of people (an average of 10,000 visitors daily) and so the heavy public movement areas – Administrative office, Hospital, Kitchens and Dining Halls, DattsadanAnusthaan Pavilion, Yagya Shala, Temple Complex, Stalls, Exhibition Pavilion, Cafeteria and Spiritual & Cultural Programs Pavilion are all located to the front of the camp while the more private residential areas are to the back of the camp and not accessible to visitors. The Datt Sadan, where the Spiritual Head resides, is planned in the same manner as public movement is limited to the central Darshan Hall and only residents of Datt Sadan get access to the whole complex. The Temple complex was planned such that Sadhus coming for the daily ritual of Khadibhikshado Pradakshina of the temple as they enter and leave the camp.

With a built-up area of about 3.1 lakh-sq.ft. and landscaped gardens covering about 2 lakh-sq.ft, the camp comprised of a Spiritual & Cultural Programs Pavilion with a seating capacity of 3,000 people, a Dining Tent that fed about 12,000 people per day, and various residential complexes with 3 bed, 6 bed and 12 bed cottages with attached toilets and 20 bed and 100 Bed dormitories with general toilets. The camp was equipped with a total of 950 toilets with the required underground water supply and drainage network to maintain good hygiene & sanitation standards.

Camp Construction and Extremities of Site

The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela presents the most challenging site conditions –  being a winter Kumbh, the work has to be executed in freezing temperatures with some spells of rain raising the level of difficulty; adding to the challenge, the land for the camp is allotted merely 20 to 30 days before the Mela commences, given the changing course of the river and the Mela being established on the river bed of the Ganges.

The scale of everything related to the Kumbh Mela is massive and this camp despite being the largest in the Mela, is known for its macro to micro detailing. Designing includes planning a detailed architectural program and conceptualising a new theme every 3 years, to show case the architectural heritage of India. Along-with aesthetics and micro detailing upto special lighting and soft furnishings, a lot of importance is given to hygiene with a well detailed underground water supply and drainage network and a focus on ease of maintenance. Provision of clean drinking water and clean hygienic meals is also planned for. A massive human resource of more than 500 people works round the clock to achieve these high standards of design on all fronts within the short time period available. The execution on site is mainly by four teams: erection of  super structures, execution of decorative facades, execution of toilets with water supply and drainage network and electrification and an army of more than 400 volunteers taking care of all odds.

On site

Super Structure

  • Ground: Rafters (3 x 4-in / 4 x 4-in) are laid on the ground at a distance of 2-ft, on top of which 19-mm thick plywood is laid and covered with carpet. This becomes the base platform and works as the plinth, giving protection from dew and rain
  • Walls: For larger spans, Aluminium hangers or Iron hangers are erected while for shorter spans bamboos is used as structural material. These are then enveloped with plywood sheets and furthered furnished with wall paper, fabric or paint
  • Roof: For water proof roofs, the structures are covered with tin corrugated sheets or tarpaulin sheets
  • Plumbing and Electrification is executed alongside the erection of the super structure

Facade Work

An additional layer of bamboo frame structure is erected around the main structure. To achieve the designed architectural language and form of the facade, frames of wooden ribs are constructed which are then covered with cotton fabric. To create the intricate stone carving effect, polystyrene designs and motifs are stuck on the fabric with adhesive. The entire facade is then spray painted with water-based acrylic color. Decorative artwork is hand painted over it for further detailing.

Soft Furnishing

All daily needs are arranged for – Furniture and equipment are procured as per the functionality of each space. The spaces are further decorated with soft furnishings like curtains, mattresses and bed sheets, decorative door hangings (toran), table cloths, cushions, and cushion covers, blankets, etc.

  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh
  • Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh <br> photographs: Saransh
    Prabhu Premi Sangh Camp, Prayagraj Mahakumbh-2019; Studio Saransh
    photographs: Saransh

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