Dunedin's Sathya Sai Baba Hindu group members worship at
household altars like this one as they do not have an
official temple or prayer room. Photo by Jonathan
Members of Dunedin's Hindu community believe having their
own temple would strengthen the community as a whole.
Currently, Dunedin's Hindu community is fragmented into
There is no Hindu temple in Dunedin, so Hindus meet to pray
at altars in their homes.
Since there is only one Pundit/ Pujari (Hindu Priest) in
Dunedin, and this priest can only perform a limited amount of
functions, out of town pundits have to be brought in for
occasions such as marriages and funerals.
Members of the Hindu community, spoken to by the Star, were
supportive of the idea of having a Hindu prayer room or
temple but said this would require a large amount of effort
Some thought it would not happen until Dunedin's Hindu
population became larger.
Dunedin Hindu Social and Cultural Organisation co-ordinator
Kala Grebneff founded the group 20 years ago. She learned the
procedure for reading the Ramayan (Hindu Holy Book) from a
visiting pundit from Sydney.
Initially, her group met weekly in the OUSA clubs and
societies building but it became too difficult to bring along
the required instruments, holy book, statues, and other
items, on her own every week.
Now the weekly meetings are held in the homes of different
Mrs Grebneff said it was especially difficult to find places
to host Hindu festivals as many people did not have the space
in their homes. Because of the limited space, the events were
usually not widely advertised.
Some festivals lasted at least three days and could not be
moved once they started. It had been impossible to book the
OUSA facilities for such long periods of time.
There were a significant number of Hindus in Dunedin but Mrs
Grebneff believed many of them did not know about the various
Hindu religious and cultural groups because they were
promoted only through word of mouth.
If Dunedin's Hindus got together to made a temple, or if
anyone was willing to provide a space the groups could use,
it would make the community a lot stronger, she said.
If a large space was available, the gatherings could be
advertised bringing more people and therefore donations which
could be used to fund the space.
Dunedin Hindu Carthika Luxmanan believed there would need to
be a push from the community for a temple to be created.