Hindu temple to Siva is being built on Kauai
Question: What ever happened to the Kauai Hindu temple, which started construction in 1999?
Answer: On the grounds of the Kauai Hindu Monastery in Wailua, stonemasons flown in from India are hand-carving granite blocks to form one of the largest Hindu temples outside India.
Working from a vision by monastery founder Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, known as Gurudema, the Iraivan Temple will be an ornately carved tribute to Siva, complete with a 24-karat gold-leaf dome and 40 pillars carved to depict stories of the Hindu faith.
Monks said the design is an ancient style called Chola, with a number of minor modifications.
All the granite stonework is done by hand. First, the blocks are carved in the Bangalore region of India before being shipped to the Garden Isle.
At the site, masons, working with hand chisels, carve the interlocking stones into place.
Work on the temple of Iraivan, an ancient Tamil word for God meaning "He who is worshipped," began in 1999. Stonework and the placement of the gold leaf started about a year later. The temple is expected to be finished by 2012, with outer buildings taking a little longer.
So far, the inner sanctum of the temple has been completed. Twenty of the 40 pillars have been erected.
The monastery was founded in 1970 by Gurudema. Today, 23 monks live at the 458-acre monastery, which includes a garden, ponds and pools, another temple called Kadavul, and a publishing center for numerous works, including the magazine Hinduism Today.
Gurudema died in 2001 after 31 years at the site.
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