The first Ganesha temple in the greater Christchurch region is set to move to its permanent location.
The Sri Ganesha temple, established in February 2018, and managed by the Christchurch-based Sri Ganesha Trust , will move to its new location at 3 Bishopdale Court, Bishopdale, Christchurch by the end of August.
The Sri Ganesha-Trust is managed by five trustees and a temple committee. The temple conducted the first pooja at Waimari Community Centre on 10 February 2018.
The Trust was established with a clear vision to propagate and promote the religious, spiritual, and cultural welfare of the Hindu community.
Over the past four years, the Trust has been instrumental in bringing the community together to celebrate the festival and other cultural activities and foster a spirit of belonging.
Sathiya Muralidaran, one of the trustees, told the Indian Weekender: “There was a need to have a place to not just worship but also to teach ourselves and our children about our religion, languages, cultural heritage and come together to celebrate our festivals as a big family.”
The temples permanent location is expected to draw devotees beyond Christchurch region . Worshippers are expected to pour in from Dunedin, Ashburton, Oamaru, Timaru, Blenheim, and other parts of South Island.
Currently, the temple has a core following of more than 300 people.
In the past, poojas were conducted in community centers with members having to carry the paraphernalia for every pooja. That will not be the case anymore. The temple premise will have all the idols permanently installed, making it easier for devotees just to come and join the prayer ceremonies.
Having a permanent temple premise will also help the Trust conduct and facilitate Hindu marriages, fulfill vows and host cultural festivals according to the Hindu scriptures and rites.
The Trust conducts regular Poojas and has been organising various events to benefit the community, including a Covid19 Vaccination drive in 2021 in collaboration with Christchurch District Health Board (CDHB).
When the pandemic first hit the world, the Trust was the first to announce free Zoom Yoga classes, Thevaram and Bhajan sessions for the devotees in April 2020 amidst the nationwide lockdown.
Around the same time, the Trust also donated food vouchers and offered legal advice to those who lost their jobs due to Covid19, families facing hardships and people with underlying health conditions.
The community appreciated the free classes offered to the children aged 5-13 years, to inculcate Indian values based on a cultural history dating back 5000 years through stories and activities. They also conduct free meditation sessions for adults. These classes are to be re-scheduled at the permanent premises at Bishopdale.
The Trust is currently raising funds for the renovation of the new premises.
If devotees want to contribute to the funds, donations can be made either through the website www.sgtc.org.nz
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