By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 9 August 2021: The first Jain Shwetamber temple will soon grace the skyline here, with the foundation stone laying ceremony (Shilanayas) taking place on 4 August 2021. The temple and community center will be built on more than 2800 square meters in Moorabbin based on ‘Jain Shilpa Shastra’(Jain sacred scripture on sculpture).
The ceremony took place under the spiritual guidance of ‘Pujya Acharya Bhagawant Jagvallabh Sri Maharaja’ amidst the chanting of religious hymns and the presence of leaders and people from all walks of life.
Interestingly, each day since 2016, one Jain in Melbourne fasts for the completion of the temple. And, till now about 1,815 ‘upwas’ (fasts) have been done. So much is the zeal for the new temple. Each fast lasts 36 hours as per Jain tradition.
Twenty-one Marble Shilas (Marble stone slabs) were placed at the proposed temple site for the auspicious occasion. About 5,500 pieces of carved white Makrana (Rajasthan) marble will be imported from India for the temple. The carving of these stones is being done in India by about 300 artisans and can take up to two and half years.
The white Makrana marble pieces are being carved for use in the temple in Pindwara (Rajasthan) by artisans under the guidance of an architect Mr. Harshad Chavda. This temple is designed by an architect Mr. Rajesh Bhai Sompura (Ahmedabad), Mr. Sompura belongs to a small community that has been for centuries doing Jain temple designing work.
Talking to SAT Mr. Nitin Doshi, President Melbourne Shwetamber Jain Sangh (MSJS) disclosed, ” Six to eight artisans will come to Melbourne from India and install the carved marbles in the temple.”
” The total weight of the 5,500 pieces to be imported here will be around 1,500 tonnes,” Mr. Doshi said.
The temple will also have a community hall, to be funded by Jain community members and is expected to complete in 2023.
Mr. Jason Wood, Federal Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety, and Multicultural Affairs was present among others and pledged to support the project further to complete it. Others present included Mr. Raj Kumar, India’s Consul General in Melbourne, and Mayor of Kingston City Mr. Steve Staikos.
” For many years Jains were dreaming to have a temple of their own. For 500 families this is a huge commitment – physical, financial, and emotional.
Now we are sure our next generation here can follow the Jain faith,” says Mr.Doshi.