A group of artisans from Tamil Nadu is trying to rebuild the Sri Lakshminrisimha temple in Karol Bagh

The Sri Lakshminrisimha temple on New Pusa Road in Karol Bagh, Delhi, built in 1982, is getting a facelift. Run by the Ahobila Mutt, the edifice is a reminder of the temple in the holy hills of Ahobilam in Andhra Pradesh.

A team of 10 artisans from Tamil Nadu is in the Capital to reconstruct and rebuild the structure. The objective of the temple's managing committee is to bring to the city one more example of the art of carving temple structures — shilpa-shastra — seen in some of the most magnificent structures of southern India.

Senthil, one of the artisans, has been working from the age of 18. “This isn't just a source of income for us,” he says. “We worship this art. And if you do this for money, the perfection will never come.”

Srinivasan, the co-ordinator, adds, “One also needs to be happy from the inside as this would reflect on the structure.”

The vimana, the central structure of the temple, depicts the gopuram tangis, who are followers of deity Narasimha (an incarnation of Vishnu). The followers are shown holding the deity in their hands. The vimanna is supported by pillars that have intricate designs from the Chola period. The gate tower rises in multiple levels tapering to the top. A brass kalash (pot) containing grains is placed on the top of this structure in conformity with the old belief that grains when mixed with copper have the power to nullify the effects of lightning and thunder. The vimana is a three-storey structure rising between 20 and 22 feet.

A great deal of patience and dedication is required to make sure the structure looks as it is intended to, say the artisans. They add that an artisan needs to be aware of the deity of the temple and the religious lore surrounding the various gods and goddesses to infuse life into these structures.