The Temple of Steps in Andhra Pradesh’s Nandyal

Sameep Padora & Associates creates an architecture (temple) that is part landscape and part building. This building absolutely marries the socio-cultural expectations with the ecological framework and dynamics of the site.

The Balaji Temple in Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh designed by Sameep Padora & Associate. This piece of architecture takes a modern take to the traditional Hindu temples with its contemporary design, nevertheless maintaining the conventional decorum.

The design of the buildings and water pond was inspired by a 10th-century temple that is located in Tirupathi, Southern India. As Padora explained, "The planning of our temple carries forward the historic precedent of temple plans which addresses the two shrines and the bathing pond for the deity at the entry."They also added how all of the planning was done in dialogue with temple priests who had input on what was placed where according to tradition.

The Temple for the residents of the adjacent Nandyal village comprises two tower-topped shrines, where the larger one contains the Balaji shrine, while the smaller temple contains the Varahaswamy shrine, along with an elongated building that contains a kitchen for preparing offerings, public toilets and the priest's quarters and is build around a moat.

The assimilation of this pool was said to be the most complex phase of the construction as the region chosen was majorly an arid land. Overcoming this challenge, Padora diverted wastewater from a nearby quarry into an area of low lying land and created a water retention basin that was planted with vegetation to naturally clean it.

"This single programmatic addition, begins the dialogue, between the temple form, the access steps and the water," Padora continued.

On creating the temple with black limestone slabs that were locally accessible Sameep Padora & Associates said," Modernity wasn't really a preoccupation for the design of the temple. It was about how the temple was located in its physical context, the available resources and what real value we were able to create using the temple as a catalyst." These slabs were also used to create the stepped forms of the temples, which are planted with greenery on the lower levels to buffer the interiors from the heat.

Creative Gaga