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Saturday December 1, 2012

Invoking divine blessings for building of granite temple

Traditional work: Anandakrishnan (right) discussing some points with the temple
priest and workers from India who are skilled in granite carvings. Traditional work: Anandakrishnan (right) discussing some points with the temple priest and workers from India who are skilled in granite carvings.

HINDU chief priest V. Ramakrishna Bhattarchar chants the sahassaranama mantras in Sanskrit to invoke divine blessings as work on the inner sanctum of the first all-granite Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple takes shape.

Known worldwide as the “Thirupati Venkateswara temple of South-East Asia”, the Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple in Klang is one of the oldest and largest Vaishnavite temples in Malaysia that is being rebuilt in granite to emanate the sound of bells when struck.

It was built in 1890.

The Thirupathi Venkateswara temple in Thirupati, South India is reportedly the richest and most visited place of worship in the world, with about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily.

Devoted to Lord Vishnu, the Hindu temple has enlisted the efforts of 50 stone carvers and their families in Kanchipuram, 60km from Chennai, to craft the all-granite temple costing RM10mil.

Temple president S. Ananda-krishnan, who initiated the idea to rebuild the temple using granite, said work had started and the place of worship would be completed before March 2015.

“Carved granite blocks with intricate designs are being shipped from Sirudamoor Hill, some 20km from Kanchipuram, to Port Klang. Cutting of the granite blocks are done with chisels and hammers. Machines are not used so as not to disturb the living energy in the granite.

“It is believed that Vishnu is in everything and using granite will cause the vibrations of the mantras to resonate at a higher level,” said Anandakrishnan, adding that the granite structure followed the precise design formulas defined by southern Indian temple builders thousands of years ago.

Each granite block is mason to precision as if poured into place and has carved internal drainage.

Fifty shipments of 20ft containers of granite blocks, with each container weighing at least three tonnes, will complete the three sanctums of the new temple.

At the end of last week, 15 containers had arrived.

One sannathi or sanctum is for the worship of Lord Vishnu in the form of Perumal, while next to it is for goddess Mahaletchumy (wealth) and another is for Anjeneyar or Lord Hanuman.

Anandakrishnan said the granite consignment of 65 blocks was shipped one container at a time at two-week intervals due to limited storage space at the temple grounds.

“Our new temple follows what kings and sages had done in ancient times.

“Temple builders were aware that certain areas and rocks possessed their own energies, each imbued with a force which in turn could be harnessed to amplify the purpose for which the temple was intended.

“Granite and other stones have masculine or feminine properties. Masculine or positively-charged stones are typically granite while feminine are negative-charged stones such as limestone or marble,” he said.

He added that using the correct stone in the construction of the temple was of great importance.

Chennai Mamallapuram Government College of Architec-ture and Sculpture graduate Madhusudhan Selvarajan, 30, who is supervising the construction.

Granite was revered as it had high amounts of quartz, a material that made a great transmitter.

“It mirrors the human body because we believe quartz is represented by our bones. So, the basic purpose of temples is to alter the human energy field and heightened the link with the spirit world,” said Madhusudhan.

Anandakrishnan said the Sri Sundararaja Perumal sanctum would be 13m high, including a dome and copper crown.

The Mahaletchumy sanctum it will be 11.6m and the Hanuman sanctum five metres high.

Assistant chief priest Venkat Ramana Bhattachar said the all-granite temple project was a rarity even in India when granite had yielded to concrete and steel.

“Once completed, it will be a tourist attraction and a beautiful landmark for Klang as it will have a unique shine. So far about 40 people have come forward to sponsor the construction,” said Anandakrishnan.

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