‘Jinalay Shilanyas’ or Jain Temple’s foundation stone laying ceremony, was held on Wednesday 4th August 2021 at the early hours of the morning for one of a kind Marble Temple of Melbourne, ‘Shwetambar’, by the Jain community and the dignitaries of Melbourne.
The Jain community came together to build a fifteen hundred tonne temple with five thousand pieces of beautifully carved marble. This will be the first-ever Jain temple in Melbourne.
Shwetambar Jain Sangh (Popularly known as MSJS) is a community of Jain families and individuals from all walks of life, who reside in and around Melbourne. MSJS is a not-for-profit, religious, community organisation. Their motive is to promote the philosophy and teachings of Jainism, an ancient Indian religion pillared by the principle of non-violence, through various spiritual and cultured activities. MSJS was founded in 2007, with a vision to create on the three principles of Jainism – right belief, right knowledge and right conduct. The supreme principle of Jainism is ahimsa – believing in non-violence.
In 2016, with blessings from spiritual leaders and immense support from the community, MSJS embarked on a dream project journey to establish a standalone Spiritual Centre and Shikharbaddh Jinalay (Temple) in Melbourne. After a lot of consideration, the existing Moorabbin Masonic Center, where a small group of individuals use to gather for various religious activities on a regular basis and where the idea of Melbourne Shwetambar Jain Sangh was first conceived, was chosen. Located at 124-126 Rowans Road, Moorabbin the Masonic Center was purchased by MSJS in 2017.
Post the acquisition, significant planning was undertaken to finalise designs for both the new MSJS Centre and a Shikharbaddh Jinalay, including but not limited to town planning applications, temple designs, structural planning, and funds collection.
The ceremony for the stone foundation was attended by several dignitaries, Nick Staikos – Local MP -Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Raj Kumar- Consul-General of India, Jason Wood- Federal Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Steve Staikos, Mayor – City of Kingston, Hadi Saab Deputy Mayor – City of Kingston, Tamsin Bearsley Councillor – City of Kingston, Zoe Williams (Suzy attended in Zoe’s absence)- Regional Director – Department of Home Affairs, officials of Victoria Police – Moorabbin Victoria Police, Mr Bhakta Dasa President – Faith Communities Council of Victoria, Leaders Various Religious Groups in Victoria Federation of Community Council of Victoria (FCCV).
Minister Jason wood was touched by the community’s resilience. He quotes “I thank Nitin Joshi the President and his tremendous team for their great work and wish them all the best in constructing this amazing building!”
We spoke to the President of MSJS, Nitin Doshi, who works as a software system consultant and has been a member since 2007, he mentioned that there are about 500 Jain families in Melbourne and the entire Jain community have taken pride in building this beautiful one of a kind temple in Melbourne. Mainly families from Melbourne had taken a vow that at least one member of each household would fast for 36 hours drinking only boiled water until the temple was constructed. To date there has been 1800 fasts and continuing; the warmth and devotion is just very enriching to see a community unite.
The Melbourne Jain temple will be made of white Makrana marble from India. More than 5,000 pieces of beautifully carved marble, weighing about 1500 tonnes, will be imported from India to build the temple. Currently, more than 300 artisans are undertaking the carving work, which is expected to take around 30 months to complete. The date envisioned for the completion is around March to June 2023, and it is still achievable with lockdowns and borders closed to get visas for at least five to seven artisans to assemble these carved marbles calls for a lot of planning. Still, Mr Doshi is determined that it is possible.
It’s a tremendous effort from the Jain community and the skills of these artisans as they carve the marble pieces under the contract work of Robins Bille of Pindwara carvings in Rajasthan. It will be a majestic temple bathing in marble iconic not only to Indians living in Melbourne but also to the wider community of Melbourne.
On behalf of G’day India we congratulate the Melbourne Shwetambar Jain Sang and send them good wishes. We all cannot wait to see this marvellous history of Jainism in each piece of marble.
(GDI News Desk)