The San Marga (“The Good Path”) Iraivan Temple is the ultimate Hindu pilgrimage destination. It is being constructed at Kauai's Hindu Monastery, 5 miles from the town of Kapaa, 4 miles inland from the ocean at the foot of an extinct volcano on Kauai, the northernmost island of the Hawaiian Islands. The project is a major initiative of the monastic order that was founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Gurudeva [1927-2001]. The temple construction commenced in 1975 and is scheduled for completion in 2017. The monastery is currently the home of Kadavul Hindu Temple, established in 1973 and is already host to a constant flow of visitors and pilgrims. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion (one-sixth of the human family is Hindu) and is an all-encompassing and tolerant spiritual way of life. It is generally recognized as the world’s oldest religion. A Hindu temple exists to provide a holy place to balance the worldliness that wants to dominate human consciousness, and to give seekers access to the Divine that is both within and without.
Kauai’s geology called for a 4-foot-thick “raft” of concrete, above 3 feet of compacted gravel, “floating” on the clay subsoil to support the 3.2 million pound edifice for 1,000 years. Most concrete is designed to last for 40 years. Dr. Kumar Mehta designed a crack-free, 7,000 pounds per square inch formula, using “fly ash,” a byproduct of burning finely ground coal, reviving technology last used in 2,000-year-old concrete Roman monuments. The Iraivan temple foundation pour required precisely 108 truckloads of concrete.
Inside the temple is a 700-pound, 39-inch-tall, perfectly pointed, six-sided crystal, which is curiously smooth, like cool ice, yet sharp edged, and the world’s largest. It is intended to be wish fulfilling and will be set in an 11,000-pound five-metal base with four silver cobras surrounding it and a five headed cobra, symbol of kundalini shakti, above it. This wonderment, representing “Absolute Reality,” is unique in all the world.
Crowning Iraivan is a giant 7-ton cupola, covered in 23-karat gold leaf, representing the head of Lord Siva. This single stone took 4 men 3 years to carve. It is the capstone of the sanctum tower, called vimanam, so beautiful and charged in spirit that it bridges man with God and the cosmos. Such granite cupolas were once the trademark of South Indian kings, and ancient temples bear them proudly. No one in modern times has attempted such a cupola for a temple, for the carving is such a difficult and time-consuming task.
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