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Ireland’s first ever Hindu Temple opens today in Dublin

The new temple will serve Ireland’s growing Hindu community, who have previously had to rent out spaces to meet for worship or festivals.

Image: Vedic Hindu Cultural Centre Ireland

IRELAND’S FIRST TEMPLE for the Hindu community is opening its doors today in Walkinstown, Dublin 12.

The temple will be used for worship, celebrations, meditation and yoga, among other events, clubs and workshops.

It is the first centre of its kind for Ireland’s growing community of Hindus. 

Previously, there has been no dedicated, permanent space for Hindus to meet for worship, events, or religious festivals in Ireland.

In the absence of a temple, locations like community centres or town halls were rented out depending on availability.

“We used to go from one place to another,” said Sudhansh Verma, Director of the Vedic Hindu Cultural Centre Ireland, speaking to TheJournal.ie.

“This is a big achievement for the community,” Verma said.

The launch of the temple begins this morning with prayers from 9am to around 1pm with members of the committee who are involved in running the temple.

From 1pm, the temple will open to members of the public who have made an advance booking.

Walk-in visitors will not be permitted to enter, and bookings must be made in advance through Eventbrite.

Verma said that only reduced numbers would be allowed into the temple in line with current Covid-19 restrictions.

“We’ll have strict regulations, and it’s by bookings only that we’re having people to come to worship in a very simple process without touching anything and wearing full masks,” he said.

We’re keeping it as simple as possible for the safety of the community. 

Upcoming plans from the temple and community centre include an ecology project involving the planting of thousands of trees around Ireland, and establishing a food facility for homeless people and people living in poverty.

Bookings for today’s launch opened last weekend, and it “booked out immediately” within 20 minutes, according to Verma. 

“We have a big community waiting for a very long time,” Verma said.

hindu temple 33 Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Hindu community in Ireland first began to seek a permanent space to gather in the early 2000s.

At that time, the community was only a “handful of people”, most of whom were from India and Nepal.

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The number of Hindus in Ireland has grown to at least 14,000 according to the 2016 Census, and Verma estimates that with students and workers who have come to Ireland in recent years, there are currently around 25,000.

The premises for the new temple that opens today was purchased in 2015.

It is located in Walkinstown, Dublin 12 in an industrial estate.

“We got planning permission and made a few changes inside to give some feel of a temple while following all compliances and Council regulations,” Verma said.

“From the outside, it looks like any warehouse or industrial unit, but from inside we have a capacity around 400 people that can be seated if we had a bigger event.”

“There’s the temple part which has idols of god, and the rest is open for seating.”

Within the temple space, there are 23 hand-chiseled marble deities which are used as a focus point during worship.

“Although we believe in one God, we believe in different manifestations of the same god. We believe there is no physical body of god, but for the focus point of view, we need to have something, so you have the image of a particular god in front of you,” Verma said.

temple-3-2 Source: Vedic Hindu Cultural Centre Ireland

The Hindu community in Ireland includes people born in Ireland, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Mauritius, and other countries. 

Around the world, different traditions of Hinduism celebrate various events and festivals.

In the south of India, for example, it is typical to celebrate 16 rituals within a person’s life, from before birth to after death, in addition to other festivals throughout the year.

Those rituals are seen as a “focal point of one’s own personal life”, and are usually performed in a temple in front of a priest.

In the future, the temple in Dublin will be a site for all Hindus in Ireland to celebrate a variety of rituals and events at different times in the year.

For now, due to the risk of Covid-19, the temple will “not be going ahead with any festivals” for the foreseeable future.

hindu temple 24 Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

In addition to worship and celebrations, the leaders of the temple hope that it will be a space for anyone in Ireland from any faith to enjoy.

Verma said that the temple wants to be inclusive of “all communities around Ireland”, and that people can know “that we are here, that this is open, and this is a community centre for everyone”.

“We believe that we are one family under one God. We believe that everyone is our brother and sister,” Verma said.

From that point of view, we incorporate all religions and all faiths and people from different walks of life.

“This is also a place for engaging a wider identities and sending a message of love and peace,” he said.

“We will be conducting meditation sessions here that will be open to everyone. We’ll be conducting yoga courses and sessions as well, which will be designed for mental health and well-being.”

The temple hopes to run meditation sessions throughout weekdays and weekends that will be accessible to anyone.

It will also provide a library facility incorporating texts from various religions, particularly for younger audiences so that they can “read books, decide what is best, and choose their own ways, rather than imposing anything on anyone”.

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