All welcome to opening celebrations for temple
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.
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.