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christchurch hindu temple gets land confirmation

The Indian community in Christchurch has come one step closer to realising its dream of building a grand Hindu temple, with the team behind the Christchurch Hindu Temple & Culture Centre project announcing that they have secured land in Templeton for the temple’s construction.

The news which came through during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival has been met with great excitement by the Hindu community in Christchurch, who have been waiting for several years to have a proper temple where they can come together.

The temple is expected to be a significant cultural and spiritual hub for Hindus in Christchurch and neighbouring regions, including Timaru and Ashburton.

The team behind the project is now working on the next steps, which include raising funds and planning the building of the temple.

The Indian Weekender spoke to Sandheep Ananth Kumar, who initiated the project and now has four trustees and 14 management committee members working on realising the dream.

Sharing the details, Kumar said, “We have got a confirmation from the Christchurch Council for 14 Hasketts Road Templeton. We are now working towards settling the 5-acre land by December 2023. We envision the temple will stand as a sanctuary of spirituality, culture and unity.”

The team is now going all out for fundraising and requesting the community to come forward, become Bhoomi Karthas and donate to see the dream of a grand Hindu temple in Christchurch become a reality.

Sharing the next steps, Kumar shared, “Alongside the fundraising, we are doing a lot of planning regarding Resource consent studies for the building of the temple. While we already have the overall design of the temple, we are now making specific plans for the interior, considering the location and its direction.

The temple will house the five-foot-tall Ganesha idol that Kumar got built by Mahabalipuram-based statue makers. The stone deity, which weighs about 3,500kg, was completed in 2021 and sent with all traditional protocols to New Zealand.

Kumar shares that “The deity that we call Sri Anbu Vinayagar is the biggest stone idol of Ganapathy in the Southern Hemisphere and was the first Hindu God to be consecrated in the South Island after an extensive ‘Noothana Prathishta’ and ‘Kumbhabhishekam’ ceremony.”

“Once we settle the land in December, we plan to have a Bhoomi Pooja around Sakranti(mid-January) of the next year, following which we will have regular pooja activities there.”

The temple, which, when finished, will be the largest Hindu temple in the South Island, will have an area of 20,000 m2 with a built-up area of 2,000m2

“The place will have a huge car park, a cultural centre, a community garden  with a pond and a Gaushala as well.”

“Our initial focus would be getting the temple ready and starting the pooja ceremonies there, getting a permanent priest for the temple from India.

"We plan to get the temple building ready by Diwali 2024.”

While local builders will do the majority of the construction work, specialist temple workers and painters will travel from India to give the finishing touches to the temple building.

“We are actively coordinating with different regions in India to source a diverse range of materials, deity idols, and architectural elements. Our goal is to ensure that the temple beautifully represents the intricate and rich design style of temples across various parts of India.”

“We also plan to bring in idols of all the deities worshipped in various parts of India. The temple will be home to various Hindu Gods, including Ganesha, Shiva, Shakthi, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Ram, Muruga, Mari Amman, etc.”

The cultural centre will be a non-alcoholic community centre that will host cultural events, wedding ceremonies, classes for children, etc.

The estimated cost for the entire project was around $ 3.5 million.

Appealing to the Hindu community all over New Zealand, Kumar says, “We are urging people to be a part of this diving ‘once in a lifetime project’ by becoming Bhoomi Karthas- those contributing $2,001 or more will have their names permanently engraved on the temple wall.”

The team is also setting up a stall at the Christchurch Diwali Festival to create awareness of the temple.

“We can’t build this with just Christchurch support. What we are trying to do is quite big for the city. We are not building for today. This is going to be here for generations to come."

Kumar says, “The Trust we have set up is very transparent and open with no permanent or life trustees. We would welcome new members to come, join us and become involved in the operation and run the temple.”

Building a temple of this magnitude is a big task, and the work has just begun. “Embarking on this temple project will be a remarkable journey, and we extend a warm invitation to all to join us and become a part of it,” Kumar says.

“Bappa has been kind and guiding us in the right direction. Whatever we do is with his blessings and we leave it to him to guide us.”

For more information and to donate, visit https://www.ganeshatemple.org.nz.

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