Hindus open grand Indian- style temple in Berbice
India April 22, 2014: The Hindu Society of Berbice opened the multi-million-dollar Shri Krishna Mandir with a grand ceremony on Sunday at Gay Park, Greater New Amsterdam.
The edifice, which models the rare designs of Hindu places of worship in Southern India, is a rarity among architectural designs in these parts of the world. President Donald Ramotar and First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar were present as were thousands of Hindus from across Guyana.
Giving an overview of the project, Hindu activist Mrs. Chandrowtie Maraj told the gathering that annual plant and food sales as well as Ice cream concerts and cake sales were carried out to raise funds.
She noted that a former structure was erected in the area in the 1990’s.
The old mandir was located adjacent to the present structure, she added, but became termite – infested over time, and as such, the idea of building a new structure came to mind by Pandit Rajin Balgobind, “so that was one of the main reasons” which inspired him to give the first donation of $25,000 in 1994.”
The unoccupied land beside the old Shri Krishna Mandir was acquired for building the structure.
The new Shri Krishna Mandir is complemented by a Maha Kali and Bhagwan Shiva Mandir sitting on both sides in the compound. Its intricately interior and exterior designs go hand-in-hand with its exquisite ceilings and elaborate towering domes.
The Kali Temple, Priest-in-Charge, Rajin Balgobind said, is a replica of a Bengali, the Shiva Temple is a replica of a Pradesh temple in India while the domes are identical to Northern India temple dome designs.
Guru Dr. Prema Panduraji, a Television personality said, “When one enters a mandir, all bad and evil thoughts are gone. You are closer to God, that’s why when you come to a temple; you greet everybody with a smile.”
A section of the gathering
She said that nothing in Hinduism is secular. “Our art is spiritual; Mathematics, dance, music, literature—everything is spiritual…That is why when you come to the temple, you are intuitively, naturally, spontaneously spiritual—that is what happens.”
She encouraged Hindus to take their children often to the temple. Swami Aksharanandji also addressed the opening.
President Ramotar congratulated the Hindu Society for erecting the new structure. He said that he had to come “because of my deep appreciation of this religion and for its contributions made to the country in many, many ways.”
“This ancient religion that was being kept alive, and that has spread from Hindu to different parts of the world has helped in many, many ways to enrich our lives, not only with its philosophical outlook, which is indeed very deep and profound, but also the fact that it is not a passivist religion.
“It is a religion that also calls to combine action with philosophy and that, I suppose, is what drove you to working towards to construct this temple, to give the possibility to more and more people to come and have an appreciation and love for this religion and rich tradition that we have inherited from our fore parents who came here to toil and help develop our country.”
The Guyanese leader alluded to the many social ills plaguing the Guyanese society especially suicide and domestic violence. He linked such religious ideas and structures to “help us to struggle against this [domestic violence] because it will help us to know and have a deeper appreciation for our womenfolk.”
President Ramotar at the event
“I must congratulate you and the architects and the builders who have really done a remarkable job.” President Ramotar urged that the mandir be used in a way to develop the spirituality and skills of our young people “to encourage them to come and have a deeper understanding and work of one of the great religions of the world.”