Temple with State-of-the-art Architecture inaugurated in Hawaii  

Kapaa, Hawaii; September 1, 1999 - "This hasn't happened for 2,000 years!" chortled Dr. P.K. Mehta. "It's historic. Not since the Greeks and Romans has such a massive placement of concrete been completed without a single crack. Not even a hairline fissure." Dr. Mehta's joy spread throughout Kauai's Hindu Monastery and the island. The 117' 6" by 56' by 4' foundation weighs over 4 million pounds and took exactly 108 cement trucks to place. Founder and Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, who had declared it must last 1,000 years, now knew that it would.

This pioneering project is made of a special mix that reduces Portland cement about 40% and replaces it with the pozzelon fly ash. Dr. Mehta notes that this makes a superior concrete, stronger, more durable, harder and even cheaper. Itıs adoption by nations and industries could radically reduce the greenhouse global warming problem, for which cement production worldwide is responsible for an astonishing 6%. The temple could, in time, change how things are built on the earth.

A Unique Temple Iraivan temple is a traditional Hindu temple for Lord Siva being built on Kauai, northernmost of the Hawaiian islands in the central Pacific, by Saiva Siddhanta Church. The ambitious plan calls for an all-stone temple, the first to be constructed in the Western Hemisphere. Work has been underway in Bangalore, India, since December, 1990, hand carving the several thousand individual granite blocks which will comprise the completed temple. The hand carved rocks will easily last a thousand years--having managed fine for several hundred million already. But the foundation to put them on--that was the problem. A team of experts finally arrived at an unprecedented solution, a block of ³high volume fly ash concrete² placed in two ³lifts² of two feet each with no reinforcing steel at all.

Fly ash, a waste product from coal-burning electrical plants, when mixed with concrete is able to replace a portion of the portland cement in the mix, producing stronger concrete. Because it cures more slowly and other reasons, it also gets less hot, avoiding the otherwise inevitable thermal cracking that would occur in a slab of this size.

Fly ash looks just like vibhuti, the sacred ash of Saivite Hindus made from burning cow dung. Vibhuti, in fact, has the same properties as fly ash and one could make a ³vibhuti concrete.² It is an amazing coincidence that the solution to Lord Sivaıs first temple in the West involves the concept of ash, so central to Saivite philosophy and practice in which the ash represents Godıs power to burn ignorance.

The job was contracted to Steel Tech company of Honolulu, Hawaii, and the concrete supplied by Hale Kauai of Kauai. Neither had ever dealt with high volume fly ash concrete before and willingly embarked upon the necessary and steep learning curve to make the pioneering job succeed.

Templeıs Next Step

Next summer when the slab is cleared, the first stones will arrive from Bangalore, India, and construction will begin. The traditional trained stone workers, the silpis, will do the final dressing of each stone and fit it into place without mortar. This process will go on for some years. The temple has no completion date, and is being built on a ³pay as you go² basis. Only when money is raised and in the bank is it spent; no debt is permitted. Thus the foundation work was postponed for some months until the required $320,000 was in the bank. The gravel bed upon which the foundation was placed cost $280,000, for a total of $600,000.

At the same time as the temple is being paid for, an endowment is being created to care for it in the future. The total project is $16,000,000, which includes the temple, support buildings, landscaping of the 51 acre ashram and a permanent $8,000,000 endowment.

As Mehta said, ³We have been developing for the last 100 years a culture of much more haste and fast scheduling and profits. We are doing this with straightjacketed technology, made so autocratic that thereıs no freedom for human beings to think and innovate. We donıt use our common sense at all. That what Iım fighting for, common sense. Kauai is going to show the way with this temple as a pioneering new concrete technology which is needed by the rest of the world.²