Temple of Protection: Goal is to usher in security and protection in a crime ridden society

The temple, erected in honour of the Hindu God Lord Nrsimhadeva, is situated in the Vrindavan Eco Village on the River Range Ranch in Verulam and its official opening will take place from May 22 to 26.

Priests worshipping at the temple. Picture: Supplied

Published May 15, 2024

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In a society where many people seek security and protection from evil and lawlessness, Vick Panday has built the New Ahobilam Temple of Protection, which has been fashioned to look like a cave.

The temple, erected in honour of the Hindu God Lord Nrsimhadeva, is situated in the Vrindavan Eco Village in Verulam and its official opening will take place from May 22 to 26.

“People value peace and happiness,” said Panday, the project co-ordinator of the New Ahobilam Temple of Protection.

“This temple is meant to provide people with an opportunity for engaging in spiritual practices that will raise their consciousness without regard to race or creed.

“My brother, Viresh, and I are both passionate about the worship of Nrsimhadeva and our goal is to usher in security and protection in a crime ridden society. It’s one of the reasons we named the temple ‘Temple of Protection.

“Nrsimhadeva appeared in an unusual half man half lion form to restore the balance of goodness over evil. We were inspired by our grand spiritual master, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to build a monument that would stand as a testament of the mercy and encouragement we received from him.”

The temple construction was modelled after Ahobilam in the Karnool district of Andhra Pradesh in India.

“Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared in Ahobilam to kill the demon Hiranyakasipu and save his dearest devotee Sri Prahlad. We wanted the temple to closely resemble the setting of Ahobilam, so that when people look at it, it will remind them of the setting and mysterious way in which the Lord appeared.”

Notwithstanding the excavation that needed to have been done, the temple was completed in a year.

The temple is unique in that the deity is a 4 ton, 2.7m high form of Nrsimhadeva with the celestial snake Anantasesa forming the base.

“We are not aware of another deity with this specification. This is a sacred project and experts in the field of Vedic cosmology and vastu helped us with the placing and positioning of the deity. The deity was carved from a live rock to bring out the omnipotence of God.”

The rock feature inside the temple with a view of the Nrsimhadeva altar.

He said pieces of the rock pillar from which Nrsimhadeva appeared were brought from South India to South Africa; and his brother was instrumental in finding the sthapati (sculptor) to carve the deity.

“A lot of rocks were also used from the site where the temple is situated now. Mesh and steel were placed over it, and plastered to give the temple the look that it has today.”

The temple’s main feature, he said, is its rock formation and altar which is unique - unprecedented by modern day temple construction standards.

“It moves away from conventional designs and is one of its kind in the world today. The glass viewing deck overlooking the cliff has generated a lot of curiosity among people and more than 20 000 people from 17 countries have already visited the sacred site.

“A chakra (disk or wheel) is set to be installed on the top of the temple to lend further auspiciousness and prosperity to the project. A gift shop and restaurant will complete the unique design of the temple.”

He said the temple was also partially off grid; it has its own water supply and 50% of its electricity is generated through solar energy.

Panday said other temples would be included on the property to give people an opportunity to fortify their spiritual growth.

“This is all part of a greater plan, which will see the Vrindavan Eco Village unfold into a spiritual haven.”

Priests will oversee the worshipping and consecration of the deity.

He said the upcoming consecration was a ceremony by which a deity would be installed - wherein hymns and mantras would be recited to invite the deity to be a resident guest and the deity’s eyes would be opened for the first time.

“The consecration includes the ‘Pran Pratistha’ ceremony, which literally means infusing life in the deity. It establishes a direct link between the divine and the physical representation of the deity. The consecration is believed to invite the divine presence into the idol made.”

For more information on the opening programme, visit the website https://www.vrindavanecovillage.com