Lord Ganesha adorns the first South Indian Temple in South Island

The 5 feet tall, 3500 kg, Single Stone Deity is also the first  ‘Private Lord’ at home

The Five Feet Tall, 3500 kgs Pillayar (Ganesha) at the First South Indian Temple in South Island (Photo Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, August 30, 2022

A privately owned Ganesha Temple, the first for South Indians in the South Island, opened on Sunday, August 21, 2022, after an extensive ‘Noothana Prathishta’ and ‘Kumbhabhishekam’ performed by Parameswaran (Chandru), the Chief Priest at the Lord Ganesha Temple of Papakura, South Auckland.

Chandru told Indian Newslink that it was one of the most satisfying private religious ceremonies that he has conducted in his long career.

About Lord Ganesha

Hindus worship Lord Ganesha as the single most important Deity.

All Hindu Temples would have an idol of the ‘Elephant-Headed’ God.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha (with 108 names) is ‘Vigneshwara,’ who removes all obstacles that come in the way of human endeavours, assuring people of victory.

He is also affectionately known as ‘Pillayar’ (‘Noble Child).

Devotees consider invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha as the first and single most important aspect of piety.

Thousands of Ganesha Temples exist throughout the world but the abode of ‘Karpaka Vinayagar’ at Pillayar Patti, located near Thiruppatthur in (Shivagangai District) Tamil Nadu is one of the most auspicious and oldest in the world.

Constructed almost 2000 years ago, the Temple attracts millions of visitors all-round the year, especially on occasions such as ‘Ganesh Chaturthi,’ ‘Navaratri’ and Diwali.’

Chandru conducted Special Poojas including ‘Noothana Prathishta’ and ‘Kumbhabhishekam’ for five days at the home of Sandheep and Pavithra (Photo Supplied)

A Prayer and a Miracle

Chandru said that the new Temple in Christchurch is a boon to Cantabrians.

“The Main Deity of Lord Ganesha will become a major source of piety and religious festivals for Hindus in general and Tamilians in particular. The environment of the Sanctum Sanctorum is charged with positive energy. Pillayar will bless the people of the South Island,” he said.

The opening of the Temple brought to reality a 15-year-old dream of Sandheep Kumar who works in the property sector and his wife Pavithra Maduram Ravi, a Bharata Natyam dancer and Carnatic Music teacher.

“While the thought of building a Temple for Ganesha has been with us for long, we did not devote progress on the idea. However, when the birth of our second child became critical, we prayed to the Lord that we will take up the construction of the Temple and complete it soon. True to our belief that Ganesha is the Remover of All Obstacles, the crisis passed. We knew that God wanted us to fulfil our long-cherished dream. We have now happy,” Sandheep said.

About the Temple

Sandheep and Pavithra established a charity called, ‘Pillayar Koil Trust’ to implement the Temple Project and obtained a bank loan, pledging their home as equity.

“We decided to call our Deity ‘Anbu Vinayagar,’ meaning ‘Lovely Ganesha.’ We felt that it was a rare name and appropriate for our family and the people of South Island because it is His Love that rules us. We were confident that everything related to the Project will go smoothly and according to plan,” Sandheep said.

Chandru with Pavithra, Sandheep, their sons Veera and Anbaa and Ravishankar Yadav (Photo Supplied)

Seeking the help of their respective families in India, Sandheep and Pavithra commissioned Stapathi Jagan Nathan, an expert sculptor and a Retired Professor of the Tamil Nadu Sculpture College, Mahabalipuram to create the Ganesha Murthi (Idol). He chose the appropriate stone and sculpted the Deity with intricate features. Eight months later, the five feet tall, Single Stone Sculpture, weighing 3500 kg was ready.

However, the shipment was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in India and New Zealand and the long lockdown imposed by the government. It was only in April this year that the Murthi arrived in New Zealand and was brought to their home.

“We are extremely grateful to the members of our respective families, friends and many others who helped us to source the artist and coordinate with him the progress of the Murthi. It was Lord Ganesha who cleared all the hurdles for us,” Pavithra said.

Pillayar arrives in Christchurch

The arrival of the Murthi was exciting and gratifying but the couple did not know how to install the Deity and comply with all the religious procedures.

Sandheep said that it was again Lord Ganesha who guided them.

“We did not know Chandru Gurukkal but we were recommended by friends to approach him. He guided us through the process to be followed. He also agreed to come to Christchurch and perform the Poojas as per traditions. We are grateful to him,” he said.

More than 300 people including Indian Newslink Christchurch Correspondent Shirish Paranjape and his wife Manik attended the five-day religious ceremonies (Photo Supplied)

Aucklanders will know that installing a new Deity is an elaborate process involving several days of religious ceremonies (as done by Chandru and other Priests at the Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple on February 6, 2014, and Thiru Subramaniar Aalayam on May 3, 2015) and Chandru performed all the rituals with dedication and thoroughness for which he is famous.

“From initial prayers and Noothana Prathishta to Maha Kumbhabhishekam, the five-day Festival was the first of its kind in South Island. With his wide knowledge of the Agama Shastra, Chandru Gurukkal conducted three Kala Poojas, Kriyas and the Maha Abhishekam on August 21, 2022. More than 300 men, women and children were present to witness the proceeding and receive the blessings of Lord Ganesha,” Pavithra said.

Sandheep said that as advised by Chandru, Mandala Pooja is being currently being conducted.

“We have an elated feeling that the 48-day Mandala Pooja is being held during Ganesha Chaturthi, which will be celebrated on August 31, 2022. We will conduct Special Poojas for ten days thereafter with people from our community,” he said.

About Pavithra Maduram Ravi

Pavithra belongs to one of the most famous families of the Tamil film world. She is the great-granddaughter of T A Maduram and Thiruveezhimizhalai Nadaswaram Brothers, granddaughter of Kalaimamani Murasoli K Sornam and Kalaimamani TA Doraraj and daughter of Kalaimamani Mutharasi Ravi.

T A Maduram, along with her husband N S Krishnan, lifted the quality of comedy in Tamil films, which until this day remains unparalleled. Respected as ‘Kalaivanar,’ NSK was the highest-paid actor in the 1940s and 1950s until he died in 1957, aged 47. He was the doyen of Tamil films and introduced many new actors to the industry. Today (August 30, 2022) marks the 65th anniversary of his passing.

The Anbu Vinayagar Temple will be open from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm from Monday to Friday and from 8 am to 11 am on Saturday and Sunday.

Pavithra arrived in Christchurch in 2018 after her marriage to Sandheep, who was known her since their school days. She was the disciple of Kalaimamani Mutharasi Ravi, a well-known Bharata Natyam teacher and Seetha Lakshmi Sivaji and Pakala Ramadoss, who taught her Carnatic Music.

True to her lineage, she established the Zealandia Academy of Indian Arts of which she is the Artistic Director. The Academy teaches Bharata Natyam and Carnatic Music to women and children in and around Christchurch. She is also the Founder and Director of ‘Pause with Pavithra,’ which organises special Yoga events for women. She owns her studio in Russley.

About Sandheep Kumar

Sandheep hails from a family of engineers and lawyers in Chennai. He arrived in New Zealand about eight years ago to study Construction in Auckland and later moved to the South Island to launch his career. He is currently employed in a senior role at a large property developer.

The couple has two sons Veera (4 years) and Anbaa (2 years).

The Anbu Vinayagar Temple will be open from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm from Monday to Friday and from 8 am to 11 am on Saturday and Sunday.

“We hope to extend the opening hours shortly,” Sandheep said.

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement