Perth’s Hindu temple consecrates a ‘rajagopuram’

June 3rd, 2008 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, June 2 (IANS) A rich tapestry of pomp and colour marked the consecration of the intricately carved rajagopuram, or a royal tower, at the Hindu Temple in the Canning Vale suburb of Perth. It was a moment of pride for the 8,000-odd Hindu community in the state during the consecration on Sunday. Australia is home to Hindus not only from the Indian sub-continent, but migrants from Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji and South Africa.

“Apart from being a place of worship, the temple and cultural centre will be for free community programmes, including a voluntary migrant assistance service, cultural and language classes and two radio programmes in Hindi and Tamil,” West Australian Hindu Association president Mukesh Mani was quoted as saying in local media.

Hinduism has become one of the fastest growing religions in Australia. West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter told The Australian, and the temple was a “magnificent testament to the state’s diverse culture. Anyone who comes here will be impressed. It’s physically beautiful and the spirit of the place is beautiful.”

The state government of Western Australia is said to have provided about A$600,000 towards the cost of the temple. It took nearly two decades for the rajagopuram, which displays Hindu deities, to be built by Indian artisans.

According to the latest census figures, Australia’s three most common non-Christian religious affiliations were Buddhism (2.1 percent of the population), Islam (1.7 percent) and Hinduism (0.7 percent). Of these groups, Hinduism experienced the fastest proportional growth since 1996, more than doubling to 150,000.

Indian-born Dinesh Koteeswaran, a structural engineer who came to Perth about two years ago, told the local media, “I love Australia. It’s (temple) really a wonderful thing for worshipping of god. We needed something religious and historic.”

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