MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, July 16, 2020 : Much to the disappointment of thousands of devotees, the latest COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne has caused delays in the consecration ceremony (Maha Kumbabhishegam) of the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere made with handmade granite stones. Dedicated to Hinduism’s most-loved Deity, Ganesha, the Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple in The Basin recently underwent a historic transformation in its architecture, with granite used for all eleven of its shrines. “We are proud to say our temple now becomes the largest Hindu temple in Victoria and in the Southern Hemisphere built in the traditional style of our ancestors,” Balaa Kandiah, the president of the Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam (MVHS) told Indian Link.
Granite is a highly durable stone, making it ideal for temple use as it can last thousands of years. It is also scratch proof, very strong and siliceous. But ancient Hindu temple architecture lists that granite is chosen as it is the only stone where all five elements of nature – earth, water, air, fire, and space – can be found. “It’s a kind of living stone, so our statues capture the vibrations of the music, the chanting and the prayers conducted within the temple,” Shan Pillai, Secretary of the MVHS said. More than 1,200 stones were used for this project, with the main shrine of Lord Ganesha alone built from 17 layers of almost 400 granite stones. Architect Purushothaman (Puru) Jayaraman designed and executed the complex project, inspired by the drawings on the iconic Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu built by Raja Raja Chola.