By Caru Das
Dome Tat Sat
A project that intimidated us since 2001, was conceptualized by Vaibhavi in 2005, physically begun in May of 2006, was just this day (Dec. 22) completed.
The main dome of the temple room was built back in 1999 by a company from Idaho Falls, called “Dome Technologies”. They claimed to have vast experience building dome structures in the Middle East. I think the domes came in quite handy as well in Idaho for storing potatoes.
Two fellows came down from Idaho, spent a couple of days fixing pylons into the ground, arranged skirting, double compression doors, and then with a compressor blew up the shape of the 27 foot wide 18 foot high dome from a vinyl air form. The first layer sprayed from inside the dome was 4 “ of foam insulation. The next day was dedicated to placing thin rebars cris crossed all inside. Then on each of the four successive days, the fellows shotcreted concrete layers. More recently we had the rough interior surface smoothly plastered so we could paint over it.
The total weight was 33,000 pounds. We hired Utah’s biggest mobile crane (Wagstaff Company) to come from Salt Lake City for lifting it. Along with the crane traveled an eighteen wheeler carrying 88,000 pounds of counter weight. These heavy plates were transferred to the deck of the crane so it wouldn’t tip while lifting the dome. The cost of renting the crane and counter weights for one day was $3,000.00. The dome itself cost $ 25,000.
I remember the dome people wanted us to pay them the balance before the dome was lifted, but I said “No.” They had guaranteed what they made could be lifted without mishap, and I wanted to wait until after the dome had been safely placed before paying the balance 25 per cent. They sent registered letters and threatened legal action, but we held fast. On the day of the lifting there were three persons present who had a lot riding on the outcome.
The dome representative was on hand to get his check (should everything go as promised). The engineer (a wonderful fellow named Jay Adams who donated his work) was present, and our general contractor, who said to me out of the side of his mouth, “Did you really have to invite all the TV stations?” I replied, “Hey, Kurt, look at it from our point of view. If the dome is successfully placed, it will be a “feel good” story on the Utah evening news. If, on the other hand, the dome explodes in mid air, we’ll be famous all over the world!!”
Seven years later, thanks principally to the talent and hard work of Vaibhavi, assisted by Blake, Sri Hanuman, Vishnu Jana, Henriett, Mark, Justin, and Alanath the interior of the dome has been decorated with what are ‘apparently’ marble lotus flowers and peacocks.
The chandelier of Turkish crystal had been taken out of harms way last May when work commenced. Today, after Vaibhvai put on the finishing touches of paint, Jon Erdman the electrician came to hoist it back into place and reconnect it.
There is always more one can do to further beautify Krishna’s mandir, but today officially marks the completion of the interior decoration of the building which was started in 1996.