The aged and orphans in the mainly Indian suburb of Lenasia here received special treatment as the Shree Rameshwar Mahadev Mandir celebrated its 25th anniversary. While a special prayer session was being held at the temple premises,youth from among the devotees descended on the Nirvana Senior Citizens Centre and the Aryan Benevolent Home for orphans in the area to treat the residents to a special meal.
“It was particularly important to let the youth experience this first-hand to show that our activities at the Mandir must extend beyond just the prayers. We should also consider about our fellow citizens,” said Mandir spokesperson Ishwar Govan. The temple,a landmark in Lenasia,was built when residents of the suburbs of Fordsburg and Newtown in Johannesburg were forcibly resettled in Lenasia,under apartheid legislation that enforced racial segregation in residential areas.
“Over the years,we have ensured that the Mandir is maintained,but with the growing number of devotees,we are now looking at plans for extensions,” Govan said,adding that regular visitors from India,especially priests from there,always comment on how well the temple is maintained despite its age.
The Rameshwar Mandir since its inception,has been led by two brothers from the same family,originally from India. First there was Chandanbhai Shukla,who emigrated to US after serving for about a decade,after which his brother Girishbhai Shukla took over the task.
He continues to do so in his seventies. Govan said even though some devotees had now settled outside Lenasia after areas were opened up following the first democratic elections in 1994,they return regularly to the Mandir for services and celebrations.