Iraivan Temple

The unfolding story of Hawaii’s San Marga Iraivan temple,
America’s only all-granite Hindu sanctuary

Iraivan is our Sivalingam temple, currently under construction. It began with Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's vision of God Siva in 1975; carving began in India in 1990; and assembly at Kauai's Hindu Monastery began in 2001.

Recent Carving Activities

We recently receive a report from Jiva Rajasankara and our team in Bangaluru. Here they show the carving of a map of Kauai and its base, designed so the four sides show the fish, whales, dolphins and birds of the island. Because it is not Iraivan temple, the silpis are allowed to use machines, which would not be permitted for Iraivan sculpting.

This also applies to the wall around the temple, called the perimeter wall. The entire chisel technology, which is thousands of years old, has been transformed in the last decade, a change lead by our own Iraivan team. Iraivan's Nandi Mandapam has four handrails, two large with elephants and two smaller ones with yallis carved. The larger ones were designs taken from a Chola temple railing which is over a thousand years old. Jiva writes: "This is the last smaller yesti for the Nandi Mandapam. by viewing the video you can see the detailed intricate work that is going into making San Marga Iraivan temple so special. I can boldly say that this will be the last temple that will display hand work to such high standards. Everyone connected to Iraivan and helping to support it can be proud that they are contributing towards a completion of a special temple. The last of a long Indian era." Aum. Jiva.

Gurudeva's Sacred Vision

Located in the heart of a traditional Hindu monastery complex reminiscent of ancient mathas and aadheenams of India, Iraivan is more than a temple; it is a pilgrimage destination, a place of sadhana and spiritual rejuvenation. Iraivan Temple is a living edifice that brings ancient tradition into the 21st century, a stable anchor sustaining and strengthening Hindu Dharma for our children, their children and generations to come.

Our Fund-Raising Goal for
September 2013 to August 2014

The amount needed to keep this sacred project funded in both India and Hawaii is $65,000 per month, or $780,000 for the year.

Times remain uncertain for many, and it is just during such times that projects wane. Iraivan Temple needs your support now more than ever. Be generous and send your special year-end contribution today.

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

Namaste and Aloha!

We will reach an important landmark in the coming twelve months. Our goal of $16 million will be fulfilled. Let me tell you the story of how this goal was set. In 1989 Gurudeva had the weight of the future temple calculated, which was 3.2 million pounds. He multiplied that amount by $5. This was two times the estimated cost to acquire, carve, ship to Kauai and fit in place one pound of carved stone, allowing for $2.50 for the stone and a matching amount to be placed in the endowment. Multiplying 3.2 million times $5, the number $16 million was attained, and that has been our fund-raising goal for the last 24 years. Despite inflation and rising costs over two decades—but aided by the falling rupee—that farsighted calculation was correct. It neatly covers the needed funds to build the temple as designed in 1989.

Yet, as we know, the design evolved significantly. Here are some of the ways. Before a shovel touched soil on Kauai, Gurudeva in consultation with Ganapati Sthapati moved the temple’s location toward the center of the San Marga section of our property. To insure enduring stability on Kauai’s clay soil, Sthapati required a four-foot cement plinth poured for the granite temple to rest upon. Following the requirements of Agamic texts, the master builders also called for a substantial stone wall around the temple perimeter. Gurudeva saw the need for three additional gopurams around the main sanctum, and these added significantly to the work. Other developments included flooring for the second prakaram, elaborate entrance steps and lava rock facing to cover the walls of the plinth. None of these items was included in the original goal setting. Of the tasks that now lay ahead of us, only the jointing of the Nandi Mandapam is part of the original plan. All the add-ons—which tremendously enhanced that original design—require contributions above and beyond the goal of $16 million that we will soon reach.

Because the cost to complete everything is unknown, we will not be setting a new total target amount. We will simply strive to meet a monthly goal (shown in the panel below) until the temple is completed and the consecration is held. Such long and worthwhile projects invariably require an additional push in the final phases. Please continue to donate generously so we can together accomplish the remaining tasks in a timely way.

With blessings for a bountiful family life and spiritual progress,
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami


Forging ahead in Bengaluru:(top to bottom) Carving the Nandi Mandapam, a silpi does fine detail carving on a lotus that adorns the ceiling of the Nandi Mandapam; workers unload a massive granite block that will become the base for Lord Hanuman; milled stone sections of the perimeter wall, ready for carving; silpi Raman roughs out one of the mandapam’s handrail stones; an ornate roof detail on the Nandi Mandapam.

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Plans for 2013-2014

Early in 2014 our Bangalore team of sculptors will ship more stones for the Nandi Mandapam, the five-metal base for the crystal Sivalingam and the five bronzes of Siva that adorn the outside of the towering main sanctum. With the Nandi Mandapam carving nearing completion—expected in early 2015—the majority of silpis at the Bangalore worksite will be focused on carving the 480-foot-long perimeter wall, striving to produce it as efficiently as possible, while keeping to the high standard that has become the hallmark of our project. They will also complete the massive granite base for Lord Hanuman and some refinements on the remaining three major gurus of our lineage, yet to be delivered to Kauai and installed on the Path of the Saiva Saints.


Left: model or landscaping around the temple.
On Kauai, we are poised to move ahead with the landscaping around the temple under the guidance of master garden architect Martin Mosko. The project is still in its engineering and permitting stage, but with funds assured it should move rapidly once begun. Holly Young has just finished the fourth of the eight life-sized bronze statues for the Temple Builders’ Memorial, and hopes to complete three more in 2014.

Statues Arrive on Kauai

Lord Hanuman, Elephants, Our Satgurus are here!

DSC_4914 DSC_4921 Yogaswami-oiled

Gurudeva's Vision

Photo of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
It was in 1959 that my path led me to the Hawaiian Islands for the first time. In 1968 I returned to the islands on a vision quest, seeking and finding a place to move our international headquarters, there to live a contemplative life in harmony with the ultimate attainment of the Self within man.
— Gurudeva

"One early morning, before dawn, a three-fold vision of Lord Siva came to me. First I beheld Lord Siva walking in a valley, then I saw His face peering into mine, then He was seated on a large stone, His reddish golden hair flowing down His back. That was February 15, 1975.This was the fulfillment of the quest for a vision of what the future might hold, which led me and my followers to the lovely Garden Island of Kauai, held the most sacred of all by the Hawaiian peoples long, long ago. It is alongside the sacred Wailua River, leading to the top of Mt. Waialeale, that this place of pilgrimage is being built, a temple of kaivalya, granting freedom from the past and a vision for the future. The temple's 700-pound 50-million-years-in-the-making crystal icon is a kalpaka (spiritual wish-fulfilling) ever-giving Sivalingam. So many blessings await each pilgrim. None are ever neglected."