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Darsana Mandhir

Darsana Mandir is a remarkable step in the attempt of the church to draw on and to express herself in the Indian culture. Integrating the various cultural and artistic elements of India, the Mandir proclaims the university of Christian incarnational vision.Darsana is the Gurukula where Jesus Christ is the Guru. Darsana, the Guru Kula aims at Devadarsan for all Antevasins.

Darsana Mandir blessed by Rt. Rev. Vijay Anand Nedumpuram CMI, Bishop of Chanda, on 8th December 1990, is a step forward in the Church’s attempt to draw on, and to express herself in, the Indian culture. Integrating the various cultural, architectural and artistic elements of India, the mandir proclaims the Christian universality.

Darsana Mandir ‘causing the good, benefit, and happiness of gods and man’ (Samyutta Nikaya), makes the name mandir, meaning ‘gladdening’, fully relevant. It was designed by Fr. Joy Elamkunnapuzha CMI, and engineered by Fr. Jose Palathara CMI.


The cross of Christ on the top of the Mandir takes the form of a mandala, a symmetric design considered to be a symbol of integrity, a tool of mental concentration, and a source of energy.  Resembling the Jerusalem cross, and mounted on a lotus like pedestal this cross also maintains the motifs of the St. Thomas cross. The title-design at the main entrance, the wooden frame of the central murti in the sanctuary (garbha-graha), and the glass works of the central canopy, too, are mandalas. 


The some takes the place of vimana, the tower of a Hindu temple which enshrining the sanctuary reminds one of the human spirit’s heaven-ward movement.  Here the vimana combines the architectural style of the Hindu temple at Bhuvaneswar, and the shape of a Buddhist.  The latter is a dome-like mount built over the tomb of a relic of Buddha.  Darsana Mandir, containing not merely the dead body of Christ or a part of it, but the holy Eucharist, Christ himself perpetuation his sufferings, death and resurrection, is more than a stupa.  The oriental understanding of the Eucharistic table as the tomb of Christ, too, is worth recalling here. The arc-like rails, reparation a simple cross around the foot of the vimana, are inspired by Muslim architecture.


The porch and the two identical structures on either side of the Mandir are in the place of the mandapas, rooms provided for the accessories of temple worship.  The two structures are meant one for the sacristy and the other for private liturgy. On the roof of the porch is seen the emblem of Darsana containing the risen Christ’s hand in teaching gesture and holding a lotus flower (padma-pani).  The emblem, reminiscent of the dhvaja-stambha (flag-post) in front of a Hindu temple, means the transformation of wisdom (jnana) into transcendent love (bhakti). 


Inside the Mandir the beans supporting the vimana are extended to form a wheel with twelve spokes, representing the Buddhist wheel of righteousness (dharma-Carka). A Carka being the symbol of unity and wholeness, this one gives the worshippers the feeling of being united and whole under the banner of dharma.


The altar (yajna-pitha) resembles the gate of the famous stupa at Sanchi.  A stupa being a sacred tomb or reliquary, it makes sense to say that the Christian altar is the gate to the sacred mystery of Christ’s sufferings, death and resurrection.  Recalling the story of Shiva weeping over the death of his wife sati, the rudraksa beeds in the arches of the altar’s cross beams are reminders of Christ’s grief over the sin of man.


The metal works on the left hand-side of the sanctuary is a representation of the entire universe (visvam), of which the cross of Christ is the centre.  In it there are, besides the cross of Christ, the provident hands of god the father, the Holy Spirit symbolized by a dove, the human kind, and the animal as well as the vegetable kingdoms.  This is also a reminder o f the cross as the tree o f life, and the Upanishadic imagery of creation as a tree with its roots rowing upward and the branches downward.

The central murti in the sanctuary depicts the Epiphany: the great darsan of God in Jesus Christ.  For reasons of its missionary relevance and the oriental character, the Epiphany, celebrated on 6 January, is chosen as the titular feast of Darsana.  The sankh (conch) on the ceiling symbolizes god the father’s voice declaring, “this is my beloved son, with whom I an pleased” (Mt. 3:17), and the dove of the circumference of the fiery halo symbolize the holy spirit bearing witness to divinity of Christ lost in an ecstatic dance, admired and adored by the humanity on earth.  The running designs with pictures of dancing steps, hand gestures, musical instruments, incense vessels and cows along the ring bean indicate the whole creation joining in the glorious dance of Christ. The splendorous figure of Christ reminds us also of his two other darsans: his transfiguration on the mount Tabor, and his second coming “like the lightening which flashes across the whole sky” (Mt. 24:27). The eye-shaped arches over the windows and the porch walls underline the theme of darsan, and remind the worshippers of the wider vision of reality expected of them.


The decorated plough, the cart wheel, and the bunches of wheat and jowar depicted on the right-hand side of the central murti, represent the villagers’ toil and its fruits offered to God along with the sacrifice of Christ. 


The tabernacle in the shape of a village-hut has on its shutter a banyan-leaf symbolizing Christ’s wed loch with the Church.  Placed in an open casket of Dravida style it is installed on a yupa (a sacrificial post), which recalls the pillar of fire and cloud guaranteeing God’s presence with the people of Israel during their sojourn through the desert.  In an arch shaped niche the same yupa holds also the Holy Bible, the word of life.  The presence of Christ, the Bread and Word of life, is announced by the perpetual light at the bottom of yupa.  


The statue at the main entrance of the ground floor presents Christ the Saranam (refuge) of mankind.  Sculptured in the Buddhist style, he is modeled on Michael Angelo’s Pieta. 


The hall below the Mandir is dedicated to the memory of Acharya Thomas Palackal whose 150th death anniversary falls on 16 January 1991.  One of the three founding fathers of the CMI Congregation’ he was the Rector (Malpan) of a seminary, and Blessed Cyriac Elias Chavara received priestly formation under him.  The congregation has inherited from him the apostolate of seminary training.  It is also remarkable that he and his companions envisaged a religious community in the form of a darsana-vitu: a house of darsan.



Darsana Institute of Philosophy, Sawangi(Meghe), Wardha, Maharashtra - 442 001
Design: Web Designing Team, Darsana @ January 14, 2014