Mumbai’s popular Siddhivinayak Ganapati temple was officially acknowledged recently as the country’s first environment-friendly religious places.
Effective and efficient use of wind and solar renewable energy, eco-friendly waste management and rainwater harvesting are these two shrines’ modern mojo.
The Indian Green Building Council, which is part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), awarded these two places of worship a platinum green rating. The council develops new green building rating programmes and certification services.
“We decided to design a special IGBC green place of worship rating … Our mission is to worship nature,” said council chairperson Prem Jain.
“We are approaching gurdwaras, churches and synagogues to apply for the rating.”
The Badriya Jum’a Masjid, spread over 15,000 square feet and renovated six months ago, is the first zero-energy, eco-friendly green mosque in the world. The design integrates Islamic architecture and sustainable technologies.
The Siddhivinayak temple, which is two centuries old and covers 20,745 square feet of prime Mumbai real estate, has adopted traditional rainwater harvesting methods. The water is stored in a well that holds 20,000 litres.
Also, it has installed a renewable energy system that can generate 20 kW of power, producing around 3,000 units a month. The system cuts down power consumed from the grid by 30%.
“We wanted our devotees to be inspired by the way we preserve the environment within the temple and follow those practices at home. The first thing was to ensure that nothing received by the temple as offering went waste,” said Sanjeev Patil, the CEO of Siddhivinayak temple.
The temple is looking to make use of flower and coconut offerings, such as extracting pigments from marigolds to use as a natural colouring agent for laddoos or as tilak or sindur.
“We have a coco pit to turn coconut shells into compost,” Patil said.
The Mangaluru mosque stands on the ancestral land of Syed Beary, the chairperson of the Bearys Group.
The structure’s design is contemporary. The white building has intricate traditional jali or lattice work that lets in light and wind, a windscope at the top harnesses wind energy.
The design minimises solar heat as the terrace laced with white China mosaic reflects sunrays. An L-shaped plan and elevated prayer hall, green vegetation and water tanks around it offer a cool environment, Beary said.