August 3, 2015


South Asia

Hindu centre teems with diverse activity

The crowning glory isn't in place yet, but Winnipeg's Hindu Temple and cultural centre opened seven years ago and is thriving.

The domes on the roof of the St. Anne's Road building are missing and the landscaping must be finished.

Beni Sanai, with daughter Ami and wife Vandana, makes an offering at the Hindu Temple during Holi, the festival of colours.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Beni Sanai, with daughter Ami and wife Vandana, makes an offering at the Hindu Temple during Holi, the festival of colours. Photo Store

"Those are the bells and whistles that will come," said Dr. Pawan Singal. In just five years, he raised $5 million to build the new temple and cultural centre.

"Maybe the gods were with us on this," Singal laughed.

Winnipeg's Hindu community is made up of people from different regions with a wide variety of dialects and customs, but they all rallied together to build the centre, donating time and money, he said.

Winnipeg entrepreneur and engineer Raj Pandey donated $1 million and the centre was named for him. Singal said the generosity was great, but that wasn't what made him happiest.

"My biggest joy is this diversity that came together in unity."

Now the centre is open daily for classes such as yoga and meditation. It has religious and language classes for kids, a museum, a gym and a banquet hall next to the temple for weddings and major gatherings.

Sunday is the busiest day when the congregation packs the temple for prayers before they gather for lunch.

Money to keep it going is not a problem, said Singal whose fundraising is done.

People come for special events and every Sunday, the weekly donations are announced running anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, he said.

"Now we have a steady income."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2012 J12

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