ANUBHUTI MADAN reports from the grand opening ceremony of the new Durga Mata temple in Rockbank
For the committee members of Sri Durga Temple the recent opening of the largest Hindu Temple in Australia is nothing short of a magnanimous dream come true.
The temple, which is located in the Melbourne suburb of Rockbank, opened its grand doors for the first time on 30 November, 2015. The sight left all the devotees mesmerised.
Committee President Kulwant Joshi said the temple would cater to the growing Indian diaspora in the city of Melbourne. “It will act as a great base for the Hindu community to come together and celebrate our culture and traditions,” he said.
The commendable work done by the eleven-member management committee, along with the volunteers, to make this dream a reality, could not go unnoticed.
“All the members of the management committee had tears of joy in their eyes when the doors of the temple opened,” said Committee Member Gurpreet Verma. “To see five years of our hard-work materialise right in front of our eyes was magnificent.”
Sri Durga Temple volunteer Vivek Sharma explained that the temple is spread across 22-acres and still has a few phases to go before the construction is complete. This will include a kids’ playground and a verandah. The cost so far for building the temple has been $4.5 million, most of which has been raised through donations. They are currently raising further funds and also seeking more volunteers who can help in various aspects of construction and management of the temple events.
The seven-day opening ceremony began on November 24 with a Kalash Yatra and ended with aShobha Yatra on November 29. On each of these days there was kirtan in the morning and havanperformed in the evening by the priests who were called in from places across the globe including India and Singapore. The Pran Pratishtha ceremony, where an idol is consecrated in a temple with hymns being recited, was held on the final day. This was followed by the unveiling of all the idols which include Sherawali mata, Hanuman, and Radha-Krishan among others, before all the devotees.
Upon unveiling the statue of Sri Balaji, Hari Julka, Committee Secretary, said, “This idol was laid as an effort to bring the North and South Indian communities together.”
All the idols looked pristine. They were made out of Makrana marble and have been imported from Rajasthan, India.
The whole temple resonated with the recitals and prayers, and the atmosphere was celestial. All devotees were offered Langar, a vegetarian meal, which was served throughout the day. There was visible exhilaration amongst all present as people were taken aback by the grandeur and beauty of the temple.
The temple committee also took the opportunity to felicitate all the key members of the community who had put in their time and effort in making this event a success including Sunil Bhalla, who headed the technical committee and in the past five years, along with the architects, designed and built this huge temple for the Hindu community in Melbourne.
The temple also performed its first ever Aarti and there were long queue of the disciples for mata ke darshan.
The occasion was graced by dignitaries Marlene Kairouz MP, Cabinet Secretary (representing the Premier of Victoria); Cr Bob Turner, (Ex-Mayor); Cr Sofie Ramsey (Ex-Mayor); Tim Smith MP Mr. C. Bhagat, Vice Consul; Mr. Raja, President Murugan Temple; and Jasvinder Sidhu, Adviser to the Premier of Victoria.
There were short speeches by Hari Julka, Committee Secretary and M. C. Bhagat, Vice Consul – Trade & Culture. Mr Julka thanked the Victorian Government for their continuous support. He also shared that every Sunday a bus service is being run between the nearest train station to the temple for devotees using public transport to make the commute easier. Mr Bhagat represented Ms. Manika Jain (Consul General) who was unable to attend event. He congratulated the Management Committee for organising this event and for the commendable effort put in while building this temple.
The Rockbank temple offers Hindi Classes, Yoga Classes, along with religious teachings over the weekends.
The night concluded with a magnificent display of fireworks leaving everyone present in awe!
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