The Bay of Plenty’s first Hindu temple is nearing completion, with the official opening expected next month.
But a couple of calls during the construction has exhausted the funds of the Sanatan Dharam Trust, says spokesman Kuldip Kumar.
Kuldip Kumar and Mohan Sailly with the nearly-completed temple.
Originally, the two-storey 250m2 concrete block building was to be built as a single-storey project with the 250m2 mezzanine added later as and when the community could afford it.
But doing it that way was going to be even more expensive. So the trust made the decision to complete the building with the mezzanine, and add $300,000 to the $500,000 cost.
Completion has been set back a couple of months while Tauranga City Council mulled over a decision to change the straight stairs to the mezzanine to a pair of three-corner landed stairs on either side of the main entrance. The decision also meant changing the location of the fire doors.
“It should have been finished by December, then some people didn’t like the stairway,” says Kuldip.
“We changed the stairway, then we had to go back to the council again. That took another three months to get permission just to get that changed.”
And the council charged the trust another $5000.
The project’s completion does mean Tauranga’s Hindu community will move out of the garage this coming winter into a building that is heated, has toilets, showers and a large kitchen.
But the trust is now broke.
“It will open some time, but we are running short of funds,” says Kuldip. “We are urgently seeking some funds. We have spent all our money.”
Sanatan Dharam Mandir has operated out of a shed on the Whiore Ave site since 2012, and has catered for up to about 250 people. Kuldip isn’t sure of the numbers that can be catered for in the new temple.
“Several hundreds, a large crowd,” says Kuldip.
Trust member Mohan Sailly says Hindu is the latest name for the oldest religion in India, a faith that pre-dates Buddhism, Jainism, the Sikhs and the Hare Krishnas. It does not have a human founder.
“Once we have a temple we can tell the new generation about our religion,” says Mohan.
“Not everyone knows about the religion, but once we have a priest there everyone can get together and the priest can explain.”
The nearest Hindu temples are in Hamilton and Auckland.