India has one of the worst road safety records in the world, and its cities are sadly notorious for pedestrian neglect. One example can be seen in the route to Dakshineswar Kali Temple, one of the most visited places of worship in the city of Kolkata, where pedestrians are forced to compete for space with rickshaws and cars. In a bid to provide greater safety and comfort, New Delhi-based architecture firm Design Forum International proposed the Dakshineswar Skywalk, a modern and elevated walkway that would offer seamless connectivity to and from the temple.
Located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a famous Hindu temple built in 1855 in the style of Bengal architecture. The temple draws huge numbers of devotees year-round and is one of Kolkata’s most visited places of worship. Unfortunately, the only point of access is a single 10.5-meter-wide road that thousands of local residents use for their commute. Shops and kiosks that have sprung up over the years have also squeezed pedestrians off the sidewalks and onto the roads, where they have to contend with dangerous motorized traffic. The road has thus been turned into a logistical nightmare, particularly on festival days, and is extremely congested.
Design Forum International’s proposal seeks to separate motorized and pedestrian traffic through the use of an elevated pedestrian-only Skywalk. The elevated walkway measures 380 meters in length and 10.5 meters in width, connecting the traffic rotary with the temple entrance gates. To ensure accessibility to all visitors, the Skywalk would be equipped with 12 escalators, four elevators, and eight staircases. The covered Skywalk also has room for 200 shops.
Images via Design Forum International