The Lord Ganesha Temple in the South Auckland Papakura marks its 19th Anniversary today, making a quite statement of piety leading to progress and prosperity, orchestrated by self-discipline and self-confidence.
As it begins its 20th year as one of the most important places of worship for Hindus from all parts of the country and the world, those involved with this impressive Temple and its various utilities will remember with nostalgia the initial challenges that had to be overcome. Reasserting the Hindu belief that Lord Ganesha is the ‘Remover of All Obstacles,’ the teething troubles vanished faster than they arrived.
Indian Newslink has been associated with this Temple since Nadarajan and Ray Annamalai, Trustees and Founding Members Committee approached us in March 2001 with plans to build a Temple with Pillayar (Lord Ganesha) as the Main Deity.
We reported that the place of worship would be unique with a replica of ‘Karpaga Vinayakar,’ which adorns the original, 5000-year-old Temple in Pillayarpatti, a small town near Karaikudi in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The Temple, which is owned and managed by the Auckland Sri Ganesh Temple Trust, has come a long way since then in fostering piety and the spirit of oneness among the members of the Indian community.
Following expression of interest from an increasing number of devotees to establish value-added facilities, the managing committee decided to examine the potential for new facilities, the resource consent process and most important of all, the extent of financial support from the community.
An Indian architect took the initiative of preparing the initial plans, structural designs and other procedural requirements.
The facility is today a venue for marriages, social functions, religious and yoga classes and other gatherings that conform to the principles and rules of the Trust.
“Work can start with mobilisation of financial resources,” he said.
Chief Priest Chandru
Chief priest Subramaniam Parameswaran (Chandru) is one of the most revered Hindu Priests in New Zealand and his charisma brings together people of varied dispositions.
As well as looking after the main Deity and maintenance of the Temple on a day-to-day basis, he is the point of contact for devotees and other members of the public.
He said the demands of the people were varied and evolving.
“Apart from seeking larger space for gatherings on the occasion of festivals and special Pooja days, devotees believe that there is a need for a larger community hall, facilities for meditation, prayers, bhajans, yoga and other activities.
“The powerful Deity has been a source of solace and comfort to thousands of people in New Zealand and many are keen to conduct the marriage of their children at the Temple.
Such demands can be met with continued public interest and donations,” he said.
First with Vinayaka Chaturthi
The Temple became the first in the world to commence ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ Festival this year with special prayers offered to the Lord and other Deities on September 1, 2019.
About 200 men, women and children had assembled at this non-publicised event at which 32 Wooden Statues, donated by as many individuals and families, were installed along the walls in the Main Temple Hall, each carrying 32 different names of Lord Ganesha.
Each of the names depicts the Lord in various ‘Moods,’ ‘Stances’ and stages of life of Lord Ganesha, known to the Tamil-speaking people as ‘Pillayarappa,’ ‘Vinayakar’, among other names including those of places.
Chandru said, “This Temple has not only the blessings of Vinayakar, the Main Deity but also that of the Trustee, Devotees and people of New Zealand. We are extremely proud and privileged to have 32 Wooden Statues donated by our devotees.”
Chief Priest Parameswaran Chandru with the Main Deity on November 8, 2019 (INL Picture)