After a stopover at the Port of Oakland in California for a change of carriers, Nandi Keswaran, the 16-ton granite carving of Lord Siva's bull, headed west on August 1st for the Hawaiian Island of Kauai and his permanent location at the Kadavul Hindu Temple. While in Oakland, he was transferred to an open container belonging to Matson Shipping Lines, and the 29 carved granite slabs of his peedam (base) filled a second container. Oakland was also the first port where scales of sufficient size were available to weigh Nandi and his peedam. The results raised a few eyebrows - 53,000 pounds all together, sixteen and a half tons for Nandi, and ten tons for his base.
The voyage to Kauai took 15 days. In the wee hours before dawn on August 16th, Nandi's ship docked at Nawiliwili Harbor on the Garden Island. Gurudeva and several swamis from Sivashram were on hand to watch Nandi come ashore. They greeted him with puja and flowers, wrapped him in long garlands of flowers and sacred leaves. A reporter from the local newspaper, The Garden Isle, arrived to photograph the auspicious event. Carolyn Sharma, freelance journalist for India West, was also present to record the event and offer a prayerful welcome. Pictures were taken of Nandi in front of the Kauai County Courthouse as his convoy proceeded to Sivashram, twelve miles from the dock. The tall and heavy doors of Kadavul Temple were opened wide when Nandi arrived and he received another welcoming puja and more garlands. Everyone gathered around eagerly to inspect and admire the new arrival.
Patterned after the famed Mysore Nandi at Chamundi, South India, Nandi's proportions, detail and fine finish leave nothing to be desired. From every side he offers an enchanting view and inspires an unmistakable aura of contentment and purity. Saivites everywhere have won a great victory in Nandi's arrival; Kadavul Temple and Sivashram have received a great boon in his presence; and the several generous Church members who donated the funds it cost to bring Nandi this far have earned great merit for themselves, tons of it. Marianne Sheeks of Quebec, Aran and Valli Sendan of Edmonton, and Scott Olson of Denver have been the supporters of Nandi's carving and shipping expenses. To them, and to the skilled and dedicated master craftsman who carved Nandi, Neelameham Stapati, Saivites on every continent, today and far into the future, give thanks.
Nandi brought his own fame with him, putting Kadavul Temple and Sivashram into a rare and brief exposure to the public limelight. His arrival was the subject of several news services in recent weeks, including a full page story in India West, two stories in the local newspaper, The Garden Isle, and even double coverage on statewide television, on the afternoon and evening news. Film and commentary of Nandi's grand welcoming puja at Kadavul Hindu Temple were prepared by a television crew and shown throughout the state of Hawaii on the 16th of August along with an introduction to our flourishing Siva Temple and Saivite Hindu ashram.
Nandi was swung down from his container by crane on the 19th, and rests now on a lumber base just behind the large hole dug for his foundation. He faces Lord Siva in His sanctum within Kadavul Temple. His eyes gaze lovingly at Siva's Feet. The 24-inch thick reinforced slab to support Nandi will be poured when building funds for it accrue over the next month or more. When it is done, the peedam and then Nandi will be hoisted into place and a small ornate pavilion, or mandapam, will be built up over him. A fine welcoming poem written by Miss S.K. Jagadeswari was offered and is shared on page four.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.