Hindus, traveling along Princes Rd, will often whisper a quick prayer when they spot the Vuninioudrovu Ram Krishna Hanuman Mandir in Sawani.
Prayers are said in view of a statue of Lord Hanuman – a revered mythical hero highly regarded by Hindu devotees for his expression of devotional values and strength.
Lively conversation for Hindus traveling on foot or by vehicle will fade to silence, followed by a succession of prayers to the Indian deity.
Born out of a need to unite people and retain Indian culture, Vuninioudrovu Ram Krishna Hanuman Mandir was established in 1968 through the commitment of its founding members, including one Jagendra Prasad and others.
The temple president, Salesh Karan, said the mandir was a sanctuary for the people of Nausori to unite, worship and share their sufferings and achievements with their lords. He said the people’s temple was established in a small bure-like structure about seven years ago.
“When it was established, the committee started with the journey of a small bure type mandir and the years have passed with a lot of changes by various members of the committee,” he said.
“We used to conduct prayer sessions in small bures, which prevented us from having large gatherings
“It was a one-story structure, so during heavy rains or cyclones, it was flooded and all of our idols were soaked and dirty.
“Later, improvements were made and the mandir was transformed into a corrugated iron structure with a concrete basement.”
He said that the statue of Lord Hanuman has become the focal point and calling card of the temple.
“From the beginning, the idol was kept on the top floor and anyone who passed by could see it.
“It’s one of the specialties of the temple.” Mr. Karan said that in a bid to provide better accommodation for his devotees, they decided to further develop the temple.
“We used to face many problems whenever we approached a cultural event, members had to move around, look for space to make a shed for the celebration and witnessed that, the landowner from the temple told us that he would give us a piece of land to build the temple.
“It was the first step that marked the beginning of this temple’s journey and over the years we have seen many changes.
“As the temple committee changed, new developments were made.”
There are 12 members in the temple committee at present, including young people.
He said the current members of the committee formally acquired the land title from Baljeet Singh in 2015.
The new mandir project was built by the current committee and launched in 2015 and Mr Karan thanked the former chairpersons – Nagen Prasad, late Birend Prasad, Suresh Chand, late Jagdish Karan and Narend Kumar – for their support over the years .
“Not forgetting the late Mr. Ram Milan Chaudary and Seru from Vuniniudrovu village for their kind support in the past to look after the place.”
To encourage youth participation, temple members recently held a flag design contest and a young boy, Kaushik Karan, won the top prize.
“We decided to organize a session for young people every Sunday where they can learn traditional musical instruments.
“At the beginning of each new school year, we organize a prayer session for students and children in the Suva-Nausori region.”
He said that over the years flooding in the area was the major challenge.
“However, through our fundraising and our donors, we have been able to expand our temple and no