Annual Fund-Raising Appeal

The amount needed to keep this sacred project funded is $70,000 per month, or $840,000 for the year.

Founder of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Gurudeva), 1927–2001
The unfolding story of Hawaii’s San Marga Iraivan Temple, America’s only all-granite Hindu sanctuary
As we write this report, the temple sits under a morning drizzle, partially veiled by scaffolding, with the newly gold-leafed domes and kodimaram brightly shining under overcast skies. The domes are the latest items on the temple’s rapidly shortening to-do list. The gold leafing applied twelve years ago was failing in our constant sun-and-rain tropical weather, but after a couple of false starts, the gilders finally engineered a system that is expected to withstand Kauai’s weather. They completed their regilding efforts in August. In 2021 we saw the completion of the four-foot tall, 485-foot-long lava rock wall around the foundation, which is one of the finest examples of stone masonry in Hawaii.
Inside the temple, the silpis focused on ornamentation. Many months were spent addressing places where additional carving was needed. This included areas adjacent to the temple’s famed lion pillars, and the Namasivaya steps leading into the central sanctum. In addition, they made excellent progress removing mold and stains on the stone surfaces, using phosphoric acid. Another milestone was repolishing the sanctum’s back wall. When shipped, it was highly polished but was degraded during 20 years of construction. Lately, the silpis worked for weeks to restore the mirror-like finish of the rose granite. As reported in our monthly newsletters, leaks in the roof joints allowed water to seep through and create deposits of white calcite, mostly at the top of pillars and along the underside of the sun shade. The silpis, currently three in number, removed these deposits by months of patient hand chiseling, dug out the joints and refilled them with hydraulic grout.
The gardens on all sides of the temple are maturing into their final shapes, forms and colors. Last year we relandscaped the areas around Dakshinamurti, building terraces, entry stairs in stone, planting palms, jasmines, gardenias, tropical ferns, cycads, water lilies and rare anthuriums. The Shadkonam Arid Garden was enhanced with dozens of desert plants. The garden near Saint Tirumular was completely redone, and a heliconia garden established. We planted 24,000 mondo grass bibs from Costa Rica (they are actually lilies native to Japan), getting ready for the day we install the groundcover close to the temple. Muddy roads and paths were improved to allow year-around access even during wet island days. The future garden near Satguru Chellappaswami’s murti was cleared of weed trees and readied for proper landscaping next year.
Months were spent composing the text and designing the graphics for the 35 bronze panels that will be inset in the perimeter wall. In the future, pilgrims circumambulating the temple will enjoy reading the panels to learn of the founder, architect, history, technology and visions that created Siva’s citadel in the West, and exploring the mystical and philosophical foundations of Saiva Siddhanta which Iraivan embodies.
Iraivan Temple partially covered by scaffolding with its newly gold-leafed domes
Namaste and Aloha!
Major progress in and around Iraivan Temple was made in the last twelve months, as this news summary explains. We are pleased to have opened the monastery again to visitors in June 2021—after a strict lockdown for fifteen months—and can now show pilgrims the newly completed works at Iraivan, which are impressive. Kadavul Temple is open again to those who want to attend puja but has a capacity restriction from Kauai County of fifty percent of occupancy. This is filled most days, so good to reserve ahead of time. Iraivan Temple is far enough along that we are announcing that after its consecration pilgrims will worship at Iraivan Temple, and Kadavul Temple will be reserved for the monastics, for those who are preparing for or have received initiation and for special guests.
Last year’s fundraising goal (September 2020 through August 2021) was $70,000 a month, totaling $840,000 for the year. Thanks to the generous donations of our global family of temple builders we received $985,674.70, which exceeded our goal by $145,674.70. We will keep the goal the same for the coming twelve months. Various special projects, including gold leafing of the towers and landscaping around the temple, were funded separately by inspired donors. The lava rock plinth, however, was funded by general building fund donations at a cost of almost $500,000. A small portion of our Iraivan Temple Fund will be used to cover the cost of the initial landscaping and planting around Iraivan Temple and the San Marga entrance area.
I leave you with a quote from Gurudeva that shows the imperative of maintaining Iraivan as a pilgrimage destination: “In 1995, as I look into the future, I see Iraivan Mount Kailasa, or the Amarnath Cave Ice Lingam, a silent citadel hidden within a rainforest on the furthest land mass from all continents. I see Iraivan as a yoga citadel, a place of pilgrimage for the devout, sincere and dedicated…. This is a place where you do not have to invoke God, for God is here, for this is where heaven meets the earth.” With blessings for a bountiful family life and spiritual progress.
- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami.
Michael Kramer (upper left) and his team from The Guilders’ Studio apply gold leaf to the massive Rajagopuram stone; (opposite) artist Baani Sekhon shows the relationship of the two paths and entry staircase from straight above the temple.
Future Highlights
With the impressive lava rock wall around the foundation complete, we are able to start landscaping right up to the temple. This work will also involve creating the final slopes to take water away from the foundation. The circumambulation and utility path, directly adjacent to the temple, will start to manifest in 2022, likely a thick plastic grid ten feet wide with 4-inch cells through which grass will grow. About 50 feet out from the temple, an oval-shaped garden path will be created. The enchanting entry stairway leading up from the river to the entrance is also planned. It is eight feet wide and 150 feet long with a 20-inch tall black lava rock wall on either side.
Pilgrims will rise with the steps, surrounded by six bouldered terraces brimming with tropical palms and plants. As they near the top, they will encounter on the left a 6-foot-tall black granite female elephant with her calf who is holding mother’s tail with his trunk. A few steps farther they pass a male elephant on the right, also climbing the steps toward God Siva. He is holding a globe on his head, representing the universality of Saivism. Not much farther, the pilgrim ascends the 30-foot-wide entry stairs leading to the Nandi Mandapam.
A much awaited event for 2022 will be the installation of the elegant sanctum doors with their ten forms of Siva in bronze. Additionally, the roof waterproofing will be completed. A major focus will be tiling the floor of the second prakaram—a 6,000 square foot area between the temple pillars and the 42-inch-high perimeter wall on the edge of the foundation. It will be clad with one inch-thick red granite about two-feet square. The nearly 2,000 tiles will take a skilled team of craftsmen several months to install. In addition, planning will proceed for the Visitors’ Center near the Rudraksha Forest, including bathrooms and parking areas.
Images of 2020-2021
The top of the flagpole shining in 23-karat gold
Umut Yegul and his team celebrate the final work on the 485-foot-long lava rock plinth which took 18 months to build
Adaikkalam working on a roof beam
35 bronze panels: Gurudeva called for bronze panels to surround the temple, sharing the history, construction and philosophical underpinnings. On most of the 14” by 47” panels, the text will be illustrated with bas-relief sculptures by Holly Young. Months have gone into the planning and writing, and here you see the second sculpture showing the silpis and their tools.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and silpis during the annual Ayudha Puja to bless their tools
Manikandan works on an upper portion of the kodimaram prior to copper sheaths being installed
Satguru with the silpis in August
Gurudeva's 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.
With the main edifice nearing completion, Iraivan Temple needs your support now more than ever. Be generous and send your special year-end contribution today. The amount needed to keep this sacred project funded is $70,000 per month, or $840,000 for the year.

Iraivan Temple Fund
107 Kaholalele Road
Kapaa, Hawaii 96746–9304 USA
808–822–3012, ext. 108

Donate to Iraivan Temple Here