Vaidyanatha Ganpati Sthapati is an Indian architect and is also one of the best Vastu architect in the century. His vastu knowledge is so vast and thorough that his skills are sometimes ascribed as same as of the sage Mamuni Mayan.
He was a temple architect and builder. His family lineage goes back to over hundred decades. His ancestors are said to be the architects of great Brihadeeswara temple in Tanjore due to which Sthapati has very respectable image among the people.
Sthapati was born in Pillaiyarpatti village near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India on 30th September 1927. He is the son of Sri Vaidyanatha Sthapati. The mastery and amazing skills of art has been a part of his family history. His father was very famous and renowned Sanskrit scholar and sculptor. Also, Sthapatis’s father was the principal of very renowned School of Architecture at Mamallapuram from 1957 to 1960.
His contributions are very commendable in the field of architecture and art. We can say the science of Vastu architecture runs in his family . Sthapati has also gained the love and respect of the people by his works at religious places (mostly temples).
Sthapati went to Dr. Allagappa Chettiar College, Karaikudi. Having a keen interest and passion in mathematics he completed his graduation with a degree in mathematics.
He has followed the path of his ancestors of designing the architecture of buildings through Vastu which is most preferred technique of structure building within India.
After completing his graduation, he was appointed as a “Sthapati” at Murugan Temple Palani, Tamil Nadu. But the death of his father had a great impact on him, which made him resign from the post. He then became the principal of the college of architecture, succeeding the post of his father. The uniqueness of the courses that were provided by the college made it the only institute of its kind in the world. He started doing research in ‘’Vastu science and technology’’ over there. His ability to observe the complicated old structures was commendable and unique.
Sthapati not only contributed to the research work but also made sure that the traditional techniques of structure building and their importance does not fade away with time. He worked hard for the revival of many ancient temples and old structures for which he got appreciation from the government as well as public.
Sthapati initially struggled but somehow managed his way to introduce and affiliate new courses of Vastu architecture from the University of Madras. This brought many young and aspiring students forward to choose a course which was not too mainstream and also beneficial in maintenance of country’s heritage properties. His dedication to his work propagated the ancient technique of Vastu within the country and abroad.
The time in which most of the architectural firms were looking to play big commercially via modern way of architecture, Sthapati kept doing the work for the maintenance and restoration of ancient structures. He retired after completing an impactful span of 27 years.
After his retirement he kept on doing what he loved. He established a foundation named ‘Vastu vedic Trust and Vastu vedic Research’. The purpose behind this foundation was research, development and globalization of Vastu shastra. He firmly believed Vastu Shastra is still the best way for structure designing apart from the fact that it is centuries old.
Most of Sthapati’s works are spacious and very naturally ventilated. He established a professional team of engineers, talented craftsmen & designers. He headed this team and named it V. Ganpati Sthapati & associates. Through this team he was able to handle and monitor various projects all over the country and abroad.
Sthapati’s amazing skill of designing can be seen at the library and the administrative block of Tamil university and Muthiah Mandram.
Statue of Thiruvalluvar: Sthapati gained attention from all over the world when he designed the breathe taking statue of Thiruvalluvar. It is situated at the Coromandel coast , Kanyakumari which is the southernmost tip of the country. The statue signifies the pleasures and the wealth that can be enjoyed in life through the solid foundation of virtue. This 133meter tall statue was very challenging task due a bend around waist but Sthapati came up with the solution and successfully designed. His design for this statue is considered as a milestone in architecture industry because he designed this 7000tons heavy statue safe from earthquakes.
Sthapati established an institute for Mayonic science. This institute is his generous effort to make this useful knowledge available to the world. Seminars and various workshops are regularly arranged by the institute for the aspiring learners from all over the world.
Despite the fact that he continuously worked throughout his life, Sthapati also wrote a number of books to share his knowledge of Vastu. Some of his famous books are:
- Building architecture of Sthapatya Veda
- The scientific edifice of Brihadeeswara Temple
- Commentary on Mayan’s Aintiram
Awards and Recognition
Sthapati earned numerous awards and recognition from various places during his lifetime especially for the statue of Thiruvalluvar. He got the precious award of Master of craftsmanship from the president of India along with the title of ‘Shilpi Guru”.
He received ‘Padma Bhushan’ award in 2009.