After a facelift, Diwali with pomp at Melbourne’s oldest Hindu temple

By Our Reporter
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The Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple. Photo by Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam

The Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple, the largest granite temple in the Southern Hemisphere, is holding a seven-day festival featuring a spectacular Light up for Deepavali (also known as Diwali), the Hindu festival of lights. This is the first Deepavali held in the newly opened granite temple, which was reconsecrated on 25 January this year.

Following two years of construction works at the temple, which was heavily impacted by COVID-19, this is the first time in the temple’s history that Deepavali is being celebrated for seven days. The celebrations commenced on 29 October.

The temple is exquisitely decorated with lights both inside and outside celebrating victory of light over darkness as well as the end of lockdown where a visit to the Temple is now possible. Beautiful “waterfall” lights have been used to decorate the walls and surroundings. Lights have been placed around the exterior and around the various shrines. This was worked on by many volunteers from the temple for the last several days.

During this period, the canteen will be open every evening offering hot South Indian meals as well as freshly made snacks for sale.

Interior of the Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple. Photo by Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam

The following community events are also being held during this festival:

29th October to 4th November: Temple lights on display, and sale of handmade Deepavali sweets.

2nd November: Annadanam (free lunch), Stalls selling various items for devotees to come and taste and enjoy the festive atmosphere, especially since is it a public holiday (Melbourne Cup Day. Items for sale are: Faloodas, Deepavali Sweets, Saris, Sand Art Cards Henna etc.

3rd November: Kolatam/Dandiya Dancing in the evening performed by local Meena Elankumaran’s Nadanalaya Students.

4th November: Deepavali Annadanam (free lunch); In the evening, Rangoli (kolam) will be displayed in the Temple where devotees will be able to purchase lamps to place on it; Sparkles for kids.

Exterior of the Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple. Photo by Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam

Shan Pillai, President of the Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam which manages the Temple, said: “Deepavali is a celebration of good over evil, light over darkness. This year, it is especially significant as we reach the 80% vaccination target and the virus which had gripped our nation, is “put to sleep” and we restart our normal lives after having suffered under COVID-19 for almost 2 years. This “new” beginning is a time of joy and celebration. What better way than to celebrate Deepavali in this grand manner!”


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