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Lotus-Shaped Temple and hermitage at Santhigri Ashram at Pothencode near Trivandrum

A lotus-shaped Parnasala, or hermitage, at Santhigri Ashram at Pothencode near Trivandrum is garnering attraction due to its unique architecture. The hermitage is built around the resting place of Sri Karunakara Guru and it will also house a life-size golden structure of Sri Karunakara Guru. Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru had established the ashram in 1968 with the mission of establishing the Yuga Dharma in Kali Yuga. Today, the Guru has thousands of followers around the world. Sri Karunakara Guru merged with the Supreme Self on May 6, 1999. This lotus-shaped hermitage is memorial for the Guru built by his followers and admirers on the spot where the original hermitage stood.

The lotus-shaped hermitage is a 91-feet structure and has a radius of 84-feet. The lotus-structure has 21 petals – 12 petals facing up and 9 facing down. At the heart of the structure is the Sarakoodam, a 27-feet enclosure made of teak wood in the shape of a lotus bud with a marble cask inside. Atop the cask are 11 steps that lead to a pedestal, on which a life-size golden sculpture of the guru is to be installed.

The 12 petals represents Twelve ‘Rasi’ in the top, 9 petals represents nine ‘Griham’ towards its base and 27 pillars inside represents 27 Nakshatras or stars.

Each petal in the top with 41 feet height, and each base petal with 31 feet height exhibits an exceptional architectural skill. The outer covering of the temple is made using white makrana marble.

Inside the Parnasala, Guru's resting place (sanctum sanctorum) is made in the shape of a lotus bud carved out of wood. The interior of this tomb of 27 feet height and 21 feet diameter is imprinted with brass.

In front of the sanctum sanctorum, there is a wooden mandapam called ‘Balalayam’ – 21 pillars carved out of wood at sarakudeera and the mandapa are the finest examples of the artistic and sculptural expertise. This Balalaya is guarded by two wooden elephants carved in rosewood. The entire floor is paved with ‘Krishnashila’ a very rare variety of grantie brought from Chamrajnagar District in Karnataka.

President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil will inaugurate the memorial on August 13, 2010.