Years of efforts bring first Hindu Temple to Tauranga

The $2 million complex aims to promote Sanatana Dharma

Venkat Raman

With the opening of the ‘Sanatana Dharma Mandir’ on Sunday, February 11, 2018, Hindus in Tauranga welcomed their first Temple in this fast-growing City of diversity.

Located at 108, Whiore Avenue in Tauriko on a 135 Square-Meters plot, the Temple has Goddess Durga has the Main Deity, a 450 kg Marble idol specially manufactured in Jaipur India.

Among the other Deities are ‘Shiva Parivar’ (Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan or Lord Karthikeya), Shiva Lingam, Lakshmi Narayan (Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi), ‘Ram Parivar,’ (Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Lakshman, Bharata and Shatrughan with Lord Hanuman in attendance) and Radhakrishna (Lord Krishna with His Consort Radha).

Religious Installation

Ajay Tiwari, one of the most respected Vedantic Scholars and Priests performed the ‘Prana Pratishta,’ the ceremony observed for ‘energising’ and installing the Deities at the Temple.

More than 300 men, women and children attended the installation ceremony which Trustee and Treasurer Kuldip Sharma described as a ‘Three-Year Effort and several years of dream come true.’

Trustee of temple Mr Kuldip Sharma said that the total cost of the Temple Project is estimated at $2 million of which $1.7 million has been spent.

“We raised $480,000 as bank loan and the remaining amount came through donations, special Poojas and other festivals and celebrations. The weekly collection is about $500 but we hope to raise further money through increased donations. We will be grateful if people from other parts of New Zealand would also contribute. Donations can be made to our BNZ bank account number 02-0466-0359699-00,” he said.

About the Temple

The total land area of the Temple complex is 2150 Sq M, of which the Temple occupies about 570 Sq M. The Complex currently has 25 spaces for car park as per the Tauranga Council requirements, although the plan is to allocate larger area for more vehicles to park.

“Work is under way for building a commercial kitchen with fittings and appliances for use by the community. Additional funds will be required not only to build a Community Centre but also to recruit an in-house Priest and provide for overheads. This is a challenge, but we are confident of achieving our objectives,” Mr Sharma said.

He said that currently the services of a local Pundit are being sought for daily prayers, rituals and other Temple needs.

Inspiring youngsters

Mr Sharma and his colleagues are undoubtedly proud of their achievement.

“We are happy that we have been able to establish a place of worship for Hindus in Tauranga. All these years, we have been going to Hamilton and Auckland to attend Temple prayers and religious festivals. We can now tell the young people about our religion. Everyone does not know about Hinduism. Our Temple is open to all,” he said.

“Our main aim is to provide regular and effective programmes, which would enable us to promote a better understanding and appreciation for the advancement of the Sanatana Dharma philosophy and Hindu culture without distinction of race, cast, creed and colour,” he added.

About Sanatana Dharma

The Temple’s website (www.sanatandharammandir.org.nz) describes ‘Sanatana Dharma’ as the ‘Eternal or Universal Righteousness,’ and as the original name Hinduism or Hindu Dharma.

“Sanatana is a Sanskrit word that denotes the one which is Anadi (without beginning), Anantha (without an end) and does not cease to be, that which is eternal and everlasting.

Dharma is not translatable into any other language. Dharma is from ‘Dhri,’ meaning, ‘to hold together, to sustain.’ Its approximate meaning is ‘Natural Law,’ or those principles of reality which are inherent in the very nature and design of the Universe.

Thus, Sanatana Dharma can be roughly translated to mean “The natural and eternal way.” It does not denote a creed or belief but represents a code of conduct and a value system that has spiritual freedom as its core.

Cosmic Truth

It is defined as the quest for cosmic truth, just as the quest for physical truth defines science.

Since Sanatana Dharma refers to those ways of being which are in concert with the Absolute, and are therefore axiomatic laws, this term does not lend itself to alteration.

Just as the law of gravity, mathematics or logic are not open to sectarian debate or relative opinion (gravity, for example, is an inherent law of nature regardless of whether one believes in the law of gravity or not), similarly the subtle laws of God transcend all partisan concerns.

Sanatana Dharma declares that something cannot come out of nothing and, therefore, the Universe itself is the manifestation of the Divine being.

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Photo Caption:

  1. Goddess Durga, the Main Deity
  2. Acharya Ajay Tiwari installing the Main Deity, Goddess Durga
  3. The Deities at the Tauranga Sanatana Mandir
  4. Women carrying the ‘Purna Kumbha’ to the Temple

(Pictures Supplied)

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