By Ram Bhavanashi

Projection mapping is going places, literally, in India. From museums to monuments, war memorials to domes, and from statues to temples…The latest one in this immersive technological saga is the Maa Samleshwari Devi temple at Sambalpur, in Western Odisha. One of the most revered spiritual places in Eastern India, the 16th century temple – located on the banks of Mahanadi – acquire new glitz of high tech sound and light spectacle- through the hands of none other than the State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik via a virtual launch.

Projection mapping specialists Tricolor India Schauspiel, and design consultancy specialists Rhino Engineers have come together to create a very unique audio-visual spectacle that, interestingly, has almost all the famed AV brands in India.

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On 11 September, 2021, the people of Eastern India State Odisha – particularly the people of Sambalpur – were presented with a grand spectacle of the much revered presiding deity of the region- Ma Samleshwari Devi. The 16th century temple with – supposedly built by King Balram Dev of the Chauhan Dinasty, and further developed by King Chhatra Sai Deo – has been treated with a unique projection mapping that comprised a 37-minute sound and light show depicting the region’s history, culture and ethnic traditions.

The show was launched by the State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik via a virtual mode from the State capital Bhuvaneshwar. An Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC)-commissioned initiative, the project was rendered design consultancy by Ahmedabad-based Rhino Engineers Private Limited, and integrated with audio-visual systems by Gurugram-based Tricolour India Schauspiel.

This is the third historically important religious place after the world-famous Konark, and Dhavalagiri projection mapping in the State.

That the temple is built on two levels comprising a large Badagudi with a very spacious and squarish precincts, and a comparatively smaller Sanagudi (the Mandap) it provides for a very nicely structured space for any festivity. The idol of Maa Samaleswari – chiselled off a special granite-like stone that allowed smooth and finer elements of carvings – is enshrined at the centre of the Badagudi. Besides the idols of Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Lakshmi installed in the Mandap, the outer walls of the temple are embellished with several carvings of different deities and celestial beings.

Considering the antiquity of the place, and historical importance of the temple, the OTDC had commissioned a special team comprising both entertainment domain experts, and subject matter experts- all working under the aegis of the temple Trust. While the content development team evolved the concept and script of story-telling, the technology design consultant evolved the technology mapping to be able to render it immersive.

The intent of the technology design was to create a rich and vibrant visual delight with intelligent and dynamic lighting, and 5.1 theatrical surround sound. High luminosity projection systems, as also high-performance lighting systems are roped in to act in sync with the precision audio.

A pair each of Christie’s D20WU-HS, and D16WU-HS laser projection systems are roped in for colour precision projection, while the lighting solutions – comprising 30 units of 40W LED Spot lights, and 20 each of 120Watt and 70Watt RGBW LED Projection lights – are sourced from Aura Bright Light India.

For the audio component, as many as 100 units Sennheier wireless headphones are roped in to work in tandem with Harman JBL sound systems that are powered Crown amps and BSS London DSPs.

A Kramer 602 Receiver, and 602 Transmitter is configured with a Cisco 24-Giga port network switcher to facilitate switching between the applications. The systems are interfaced for audio with MOTU, with ENTEC being tasked for DMX lighting interfacing.
The 37-minute sound and light show content display is powered by Dataton’s show control software WATCHNET.

While that being the technology architecture, voiceover for the content flow rendering was done by eminent artistes like Beeren Mishra for Oriya and Manwendra Tripathy for Hindi. Amit Kilam from the popular Indian Ocean band collaborated with Pankaj Jal for bringing that local flavour to the music.

As many as 250 visitors can enjoy the show simultaneously and watch the temple transform into the Mahanadi river; Hirakud dam with glistening diamonds, rich and colourful Sambalpuri sarees, and the rich paddy fields that make this place the rice bowl of western Odisha, besides the Goddess Shamleshwar Devi Herself in Her glorious beishas.

You can watch the second part of the video here: https://youtu.be/0mCf_wzhPK4

Rhino Engineers
Tricolor India