All wel­come to open­ing cel­e­bra­tions for tem­ple

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

A $6 mil­lion tem­ple that could be the big­gest of its kind is set to open in One­hunga.

A four-day celebration be­gin­ning on Fe­bru­ary 6 will mark the open­ing of the Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan tem­ple and com­mu­nity cen­tre in Princes St.

The re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tion fol­lows the teach­ings of Shri Saibaba, a man who died in 1918 and is recog­nised as a saint by Mus­lims and Hin­dus.

Tem­ples can be found in most towns through­out In­dia and in many ma­jor cities through­out the world, but un­til now there were no pur­pose­built tem­ples in New Zealand.

Auck­land fol­low­ers have been meet­ing in com­mu­nity halls.

‘‘It’s good to have a place of our own,’’ pres­i­dent Bhaskara Duvvuru says.

Plan­ning for the project started in 2002.

It was paid for mainly through do­na­tions from fol­low­ers and from fundrais­ing.

The new fa­cil­ity is a con­verted fur­ni­ture ware­house the or­gan­i­sa­tion pur­chased in 2011.

It in­cludes a func­tion hall and a sep­a­rate din­ing room and kitchen that will be hired out to the pub­lic. There are also plans to run yoga and other com­mu­nity classes from the cen­tre.

‘‘I’ve been told the tem­ple hall is the big­gest in the world,’’ Mr Duvvuru says.

The build­ing’s cen­tre­pieces are two Kalashes, or cop­per spires, that sit atop two domes on the roof.

The open­ing weekend has been cho­sen be­cause Fe­bru­ary 6 and 9 are aus­pi­cious days in the Hindu cal­en­dar.

Spir­i­tual leader Gu­ruji Shri Chan­dra Bhanu Sat­pa­thyji is com­ing from In­dia for the open­ing.

The pub­lic is in­vited to at­tend the cel­e­bra­tions which start at 8.30am on Fe­bru­ary 6 and end at 9pm on Fe­bru­ary 9.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Tem­ple un­veil­ing: Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan of New Zealand pres­i­dent Bhaskara Duvvuru, pri­est Suresh Sat­te­navall and Sainash Nethula are pre­par­ing for the grand open­ing of the group’s new tem­ple.

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