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Temple chooses Renkus-Heinz VARIA arrays for multimedia show

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha’s (BAPS) Swaminaryan Akshardham temple has installed a Renkus-Heinz surround sound system for the arena surrounding the famous Akshardham fountains.

The BAPS, founded more than a century ago, is a global socio-spiritual organisation based upon the Hindu teachings of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. With a worldwide network of mandirs (temples), the organisation’s crown jewel is Swaminaryan Akshardham, a temple and grounds created by over 11,000 artisans and volunteers.

The fountains at Akshardham, known as “Sahaj-Anand” (“Subtle Bliss” or “Eternal Bliss”), are one of the main attractions at the temple. Built upon the design of the region’s grand traditional step-wells, it measures 300 x 300ft, with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. The arena surrounding the fountains seats around 3,500 guests, where there is a nightly multimedia performance using an ancient scriptural story to highlight the moral values inspired by Hindu. The show features an interplay of water, fire, lasers and lights, video projection, narration, and music, including a surround sound system employing a range of Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers.

Created by BAPS’ own design team, the system’s audio is comprised of 20 VARIA VAX101-15 and VAX101-22 modular point source line arrays, along with 20 STX-LA/9W line array loudspeakers. Low frequency reinforcement is handled by 20 CFX15S and 12 DRS18-2B subwoofers.

BAPS’ Vipul Vaghela explained: “The arena is a step well, and the seating rakes downward from the back row, with the fountain located in the centre and below ground level. Sound sources are located both at the fountain, and at the projection wall, and both of these primary sound sources must be in sync.

“The show requires a rather elaborate surround sound experience, and the stone walls of many of the adjacent buildings created a major challenge in keeping reflected sound to a minimum.”

The numerous technical issues of the project and Vaghela’s familiarity with Renkus-Heinz were the reasons why the BAPS engineering team chose them. “We have worked with Renkus-Heinz on similar projects in the past, with excellent results, and we were confident that their technology was ideally suited for this type of a challenge” said Vaghela. “Their VARIA technology enabled us to design a system that would provide very precise coverage to only the audience areas, while minimising the sound to areas that would generate problematic reflections.”

Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers and steerable arrays