The Madras newspapers Indian Express and The Hindu each carried articles on the departure of the great granite Nandi commissioned for the Kadavul Hindu Temple on Kauai, Hawaii. The Indian Express noted, "A ten-tonne granite Nandi is awaiting shipment from Cochin to an island in the Hawaiian group. It is to be installed in the Nataraja temple there.
"Master Subramuniya, head of Saiva Siddhanta Church, who arrived from Delhi on a week's pilgrimage of the South Indian temples, told newsmen at the airport that the Nandi had been patterned after the famous Mysore Nandi. It measured 6 feet in height, 5 feet in width, and 9 feet in length and had been sculpted under the direct supervision of the head stapthi, Neelamegam, of Mahabalipuram.
"There was also a proposal to take two purohits from South India for performing pujas there. He said a plan was afoot to build a temple to Lord Muruga there."
The article in The Hindu dealt with the same interview but in greater detail. Gurudeva had just arrived in Madras from North India. No one knew he was coming; the reporters just happened to be at the airport. Seeing the three American Swamis dressed in their saffron robes inspired the impromptu interview.
The Tamil community is very excited about Nandi's journey to America. As reported in an earlier edition of The New Saivite World, this is the largest granite Nandi to be carved in India in this century. Craftsmen from Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation in Mahabalipuram worked diligently for two years to complete the work, considered by the venerable artisan who supervised the work to be one of the two greatest artistic achievements of his life. The Nandi itself weighes five tons, and the solid granite altar upon which he will be placed weighes an equal amount. Nandi is the embodiment of wisdom. Neelamegam Sthapathi has also designed the Mandapam for Nandi. This is the ornate structure, an open columned pavilion, which covers him. The Mandapam will be erected just outside the main temple building. When it is completed, pilgrims entering the Kadavul Hindu Temple will first encounter Siva's Vahana, a distance of 72 feet from the Nataraja Deity. Those in charge of the construction report that they will soon pour the foundation of this structure, then await the arrival, he will be placed on the massive stone altar and Mandapam erected around him. He is rather too large to just carry in and place on his pedestal after the building is complete! Our prayers are offered for a safe journey for this rare and most remarkable vahana as he begins his journey half-way around the world.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.