The new Hindu Centre, being built at 999 St. Anne's Rd. near Warde Avenue, will incorporate a Hindu temple and cultural centre in its first phase, with a youth centre and sports complex to follow, said Sumita Biswas, president of the Hindu Society of Manitoba.
"We will have a beautiful and traditional temple, designed in Indian architecture," said Biswas. "The lower floor will be modern, with an auditorium and a stage with professional light and sound that will serve all our social and recreational needs."
The temple will be only the second in the city -- the other is at 854 Ellice Ave. -- and will feature nine marble idols that were carved in India.
Construction began in the first week of May, and the building's frame is now up. It's expected the walls and roof will be completed by the time the snow flies, and the interior work will be done over the winter, said Biswas. The centre should open in late spring or early summer, she said.
"The planning has actually been going on for the last three years, but more actively for the last year and a half," said Biswas.
The Hindu Society has raised $2.2 million so far through fund-raising dinners and donations. All three levels of government have also chipped in for the project, said Biswas.
On Nov. 1, the Hindu Society will host a celebration of the Diwali Mela, the Festival of Light, at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, with the hope of raising more money for the project through food sales, sponsorships, and donations.
Biswas said she hopes the fund-raiser will draw between 2,000 and 3,000 people.
The new centre is necessary to serve the growing number of Hindus in the city, which Biswas said now stands at about 20,000. The St. Anne's Road location will be central for the large number of Hindus who live in south St. Vital, Linden Woods, Southdale and Fort Richmond, she said.
Biswas said the project could not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of a few key people in the community, specifically: D.K. Gupta, chairman of the Hindu Centre project; Hasmukh Pandya, chairman of the construction committee; Pawan Singal, who was in charge of fund-raising; and Virender Bahyana, who is overseeing the building process.
PHOTO LINDA VERMETTE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS