The Satsang Hall is adjacent to the Govind Devji Temple, the personal temple of the royal family of Jaipur. The hall is situated in the City Palace complex (the residence of the Maharaja) in the old Walled City.
The Govind Devji Temple Trust desired a Satsang Hall that could seat 5,000 devotees at any given time. The primary requirement of the trust was that the hall having total area of 15,600 Sq. Ft. should not have any pillars in between.
Given the large width of the hall and the requirement of constructing a flat, usable roof, the only structure that could work was a grid slab. A grid or waffle slab is an roof constructed employing a crisscross square grid of deep ribs.
The entire grid roof of 36 meters x 38 meters is resting on four peripheral beams, which are 1420 x 2718 deep. The outer beams, in turn, rest on eight columns on the outer periphery, four at the corners and four in the middle of each side. We faced several engineering challenges while designing a structure of this size. Our major concern was to minimize the deflection (the sagging of the roof – a phenomenon that occurs when pillars are distant from each other).
By increasing the thickness of a very insignificant member (the slab) from 115 mm to 200 mm, the deflection was brought within permissible limits. Both the post-tensioning technology and the increase in slab thickness contributed to creating this structural marvel.
The location of the Hall was another challenge it had to contend with. The construction of the roof required 90 trucks to enter the busy site during a period of 36 hours. This busy tourist destination also attracts roughly 2,000 devotees that visit the temple everyday, apart from the city crowds. Help came from everywhere. The Jaipur traffic police offered to control the traffic for smooth movement of trucks. RSRDC personnel and temple sevaks spent sleepless nights in helping out with the logistics during the period of roof casting.