|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - January 2019|
Updates on Renovation at SRSG
by Rabindra Sahu
2018 has been one of home cleaning and reviving at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG).
We started the renovation work in the ashram last year and received overwhelmingly loving and generous response from our family members across the world. On behalf of Swami Ritavan Bharati and the entire ashram community, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have sent their loving support for our beloved Swami Veda’s mission work to continue at SRSG for many decades to come.
We are excited to share the progress with you all now. The second phase of construction is already going on, while planning for the third phase is underway.
We are thrilled to share that most of the projects started last year have been completed already, including the new Kitchen Building (with all new equipment), renovated Dining Hall, retaining wall near cottages 22-30, the pathway from the Mandala Office towards the Knowledge Centre, new toilets in the main building and near the Dining Hall.
About the Dining Hall
The Dining Hall needed more work than we had initially anticipated as both the floor and the roof of the dining hall had been badly damaged. The old kitchen walls were removed, and the space was added into the dining area. The floor of the Dining Hall had sunk and needed to be repaired. Upon excavation, we found out that in the original construction there was no reinforced concrete done to protect the flooring. We have now added a reinforced concrete base with new marble flooring in hall.
The Dining Hall roof was excavated of tons of soil which was weakening the entire structure of the roof and was also the main reason for the water seepage during the monsoon rains. After being treated with water sealants, the roof was laid down with tiles to further protect it against future rains. The other section of the Dining Hall roof with tin shade was replaced with new tin and fibre sheets and with a strengthened iron base to support them, which also allow for natural light to enter the dining area throughout the day. The new Dining Hall was finally inaugurated on October 26, 2018.
The idea behind adding tiles to the Dining Hall roof was not only to prevent future water seepage problems, but also to utilise this space for outdoor classes. A new staircase was then constructed to access the roof.
Second Phase of Work
The floor outside the Shiva temple was earlier strengthened with concrete and laid with limestone slabs. During the second phase of work, the aluminium walls are going to be replaced with permanent structures. We are constructing short brick walls with long glass panes on top. The inside layer of the walls is being covered with white marble. Sh. Dheeraj Bhatia Ji, our constructor, has been kind enough to sponsor the entire renovation of the Shiva temple himself.
With the heavy rains last year, we realized the need to create a pathway from Mandala Office towards the Guest Cottages. A beautiful red brick pathway was laid down up to Cottage-22,which has been adorned with beautiful little flowers on both sides with the tireless service of our full gardening team led by Mrs. Kirti Dixit.
A trench was built alongside the new brick pathway from the Mandala Office towards the Knowledge Centre for the electrical cables, which would also work as a drain for rainwater. We are planning to implement a rainwater harvesting system at the ashram very soon.
The ashram boundary wall beside the gravel pathway from the generators towards Mandala Office collapsed during the heavy rains last year, and we had to reconstruct the wall. The old wall had brick pillars holding iron fences together. Now, we have decided to replace the old structure with brick walls and new stronger pillars.
The ashram boundary from the generators towards the main entrance gate had to be pulled back inside 2 feet as the road outside the ashram is being widened by the government, and we have redone the ashram boundary now.
In the initial construction, there was no access to the rooftop of the residents’ building (behind the Gurukulam. One had to crawl out from one of the windows of the dormitory on the third floor to access a small iron staircase built on the outside cantilever which lead to only one of the roofs, and was quite unsafe.
The other roof had no access at all. We are in the process of building an elevated bridge between the third floor of the residents’ building (with 2 dormitories) and the Gurukulam rooftop. Another bridge will be built to join the two dormitories. This would allow easy access to the 2 dormitories, which will be used as classroom space. We will then build a staircase to have access to the 2 roofs.
The roof of the residents’ building is in a very bad condition due to no repair and maintenance over the past so many years and needs serious attention to stop water seepage and check for any structural damage.
As part of our ongoing maintenance, our temples, many Gurukulam rooms, Sadhana Cottages, office spaces have been repainted and refurbished.n
For the third phase of work, we are planning to add an extra bathroom in all the big family size cottages, renovate the New Block buildings, install CCTV Cameras (closed-circuit television cameras), build a proper drainage system in between all the cottages, repair the retaining wall near the temples, and repair and renovate the Sadhana Cottages.
In order to meet these essential expenses for the maintenance of our spiritual home, we need your continued loving and generous support. The current cost of just maintaining the facilities at the ashram (not including any of the programs, or repair work) runs at approximately INR 1,800,000 (USD 26,200) per month.
For all donations towards the ashram maintenance and renovation work, you may contact Divya for donations at email@example.com.
It is only with the generous support of our extended family that the ashram can continue to serve the mission. We would like to extend our special thanks to: a) all those who have so generously donated towards the ashram renovation work, b) all those who encouraged their friends and family to support the ashram, and c) all our family members across the globe who continue to share their love with us and thereby making this physical space an oasis of meditative silence.
Yours in service of Gurudeva,
Rabindra Sahu (General Manager, SRSG)
Photo Credits: Medhawati
“The dakshina (love-offering) and seva (selfless service) offered unto the Guru’s Mission, will ensure that the manifest form of this spiritual sanctuary can continue to flourish and serve in line with Swami ji’s vision, while further strengthening one’s unending connection with the Guru Parampara.” – Swami Ritavan Bharati
Footnote: Guru Dakshina / Love Offering by Swami Veda Bharati
Editor’s Note:The inauguration of the new kitchen was September 23, 2018.