Fundraising begins for the largest Hindu Temple on South Island

An artist’s impression of the proposed Christchurch Vinayagar Temple and Hindu Cultural Centre (Photo by JK Images)

Shirish Paranjape
Christchurch, March 25, 2023

About 500 people were present at the Hindu Culture Night 2023, which served as the launch of the fundraising for the Christchurch Vinayagar (Ganesha) Temple, the largest Hindu place of worship proposed to be built on the South Island.

The event was held at the La Vida Centre in Christchurch on Saturday, 18 March 2023.

The programme began with Pushpanjali to Lord Ganesha, instead of the customary Deep  Prajwalan (lighting of the Traditional Lamp), due to the rules of the venue.

This was followed by a classical dance by Harsha Prakash in the Bharata Natyam style, and a prayer to Lord Ganesha sung by fourteen children, all students of the Zealandia Academy of Indian Arts, run by Pavithra Maduram Ravi.

The cultural items were interspersed with presentation and story-telling and narration by Sandheep Kumar. This included the past events leading to the creation of the existing Ganesha Temple at its current location, and the plans for creating the future temple and a Hindu Culture Centre at a new location.

Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods displays a drawing of the proposed Christchurch Vinayagar Temple and Culture Centre watched by Christchurch Councillor Tyla-Harrison-Hunt and National Party Illam Candidate Hamish Campbell (Photo by JK Images)

About the Project

As part of the presentation, Sandheep highlighted several aspects of the project, including (1) An

artist’s impression of the proposed temple and the Hindu Culture Centre complex (2) The facilities planned for the Culture Centre such as a community hall, commercial kitchen and dining facilities (3) The area of the buildings and the required land and (4) The Project’s budget.

He also cited broad timelines and milestones such as August 2023 for the purchase of the land and Bhoomi Pooja, August 2024 for the completion of the construction and opening of the Temple and August 2025 for the completion of the Hindu Culture Centre.

He introduced the members of the Temple Trust Board, which has trustees not only from different parts of India but also from other countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Sharing the concept of a potential 500 Bhoomi Kartas, each donating $2000 to collectively raise $1 million needed to buy the land by August 2023.

“The names of Bhoomi Kartas will be displayed permanently on the Wall of the Temple. We will launch a ‘Donate a Brick’ campaign, with people offering cash donations of their choice, starting at $100 per brick,” he said.

Sandheep said that the Trust has been registered with New Zealand Charities Commission as well as an approved Donee with the Inland Revenue Department, enabling donors to claim a tax credit for their donations.

A great beginning

Such was the clarity, simplicity and transparency of the concepts and ideas shared by Sandheep that more than $10,000 was pledged by the attendees at the event.

Senthil Kumar was the first donor.

Among the other performers included Maithree Saligame (Vocal) accompanied by Nelson Myers-Daly (Bansuri), Liam Oliver (Sitar) Joshua D’vanbu (Tabla) and students of the Zealandia Academy of Indian Arts (music).

Among the guests were Housing, Infrastructure and Construction Minister Dr Megan Woods, Councillor Tyla Harrison-Hunt and a few candidates contesting in the general election 2023.

Dr Woods unveiled an artist’s impression of the Hindu Temple and the Hindu Culture Centre.

A small plant was presented to all guests.

The speakers included Dr Woods, National Party candidate for Illam Hamish Campbell and Dr Surinder Tandon (Hindu Council). Reshma Shetty thanked the audience.

The event was sponsored by the Wolfbrook Property Group, Monty Parti (Franchise owner, Mike Pero), Next Step Accounting, Salt on the Pier and others.

For more information, please visit: https://www.ganeshatemple.org.nz/

Shirish Paranjape is Indian Newslink Correspondent based in Christchurch.

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