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Temple in the Sea Trinidad: Siewdass Sadhu Shiva Mandir

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This Hindu Temple at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad is testament of one man’s love of Hinduism. The Temple was the 25-year attempt of Siewdass Sadhu to construct a worship centre at no-man’s land – the sea. Sadhu was denied land to build his beloved temple and took his struggle offshore, toiling and unloading buckets of dirt into the Gulf in an effort to create artificial land.

This Hindu temple was built through perseverance and strength. The Waterloo Temple, better known as Temple in the Sea, is an octagonal- shaped colourful structure. At the entrance of the temple, stands a statue of its designer Seedas Sadhu. Flags and statues adorn the temple’s perimetre. Before entering, you must remove your shoes because once inside, you are on holy ground. The beauty of reverence is reflected in the well-crafted murtis of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva and Mother Durga and flowers adorned around them. The temple was first built in 1947 by indentured labourer Sadhu, whose dream was to build a place of worship. That dream was short lived as, five years later, it was destroyed by the government of the time since it was built on State-owned Caroni land. Not discouraged, Sadhu rebuilt the temple – this time in the sea to avoid the further incident. For the next 25 years, Sadhu dedicated himself to completing the temple. On his bicycle and in a leather bag, he carried stone by stone, assembling the base of the temple. In 1994, the government at the time helped finish the temple in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the coming of Indians to the country. A pier was added to ensure the Waterloo Temple could easily be accessed during high tide.

Credits to – https://www.destinationtnt.com/temple-in-the-sea/

 

This Hindu temple is regarded as a National Treasure to Trinidad and Tobago. An Indian labourer, Seedas Sadhu, had constructed the first temple on the seashore in 1947. It was demolished because it was built on MacMillan Park, private property belonging to Tate and Lyle Limited, one of the leading sugar companies. Sadhu was sent to prison. He subsequently decided to build the temple in the sea. It took him 25 years to build singlehanded with only his bicycle to transport materials. This temple is on a man-made island and is connected to the mainland by a pedestrian causeway. Images and murtis of Ganesh, Siddartha and other Hindu deities are displayed in an exquisite manner.

The temple, which was rebuilt on 1995 under a committee of which Randal Rampersad was Chairman, received assistance from the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP), as well as from overseas.

Credits to – https://nationaltrust.tt/location/siewdass-sadhu-temple-in-the-sea/

 

Quarter of a mile off the west coast of Trinidad there stands an extraordinary monument to the human spirit: a magnificent Hindu temple, completed and consecrated at the end of 1995, standing in the sea. It bears the name Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir, and its history goes back far beyond the celebrations of last December.

For many years, an earlier Hindu temple, at the end of a causeway, withstood tides, breezes and neglect. It was the creation of one man — alone, unaided and ridiculed, his largest tool an ordinary bicycle.

“Engineers does want to know how he did it,” said a resident of the nearby village of Waterloo. “He got oil drums from Lever Brothers, filled them up with concrete and tied them together with steel. That was how he made the foundation.”

But the real foundation was tenacity. It led Sewdass Sadhu, a poor indentured labourer from India, to defy not only the elements but the authorities in colonial Trinidad in order to create a place of worship.

“That man went to jail for that temple,” a villager known as Mr Sheik declared. Mr Sheik — whose real name was Ibrahim Khan — died some years ago, in his eighties; but when I met him, he was still full of admiration for Sewdass Sadhu.

Sadhu was the least jail-going type in the village, a hardworking sugar-worker born in 1901 in the holy city of Benares on the River Ganges. “He was not a talker,” Mr Sheik recalled. “If you and he stay together for hours you would hardly hear him talk. You had to do all the talking. He neither smoked nor drank.”

The one thing that made Sadhu noticeable was that he saved his meagre wages and went back to India every few years to worship at the holy shrines there. “I once asked him why he went back so often,” said Mr Sheik. “He said he had made a promise to Bhajiwan (God) to return.”

But as the years passed, the cost of the trip rose. It became more difficult for a labourer working for around $20 a month to keep up this regular pilgrimage. So he decided to create a holy place in Trinidad instead, by the calm Gulf of Paria. “I believe the sea here was like the Ganges to him,” one of the villagers said.

Sadhu chose a piece of unused swamp land close to the shore and began construction. It continued month after month.

“Seven days a week he used to pass my house on his bicycle,” Mr Sheik recalled. “I used to call out to him, ‘Salaam, salaam’ and he used to reply, ‘Ram, Ram.’ He wasn’t the kind of man to stop and blag, you know.”

But Sadhu finished his temple, and the result was a place of renowned beauty.

“You know that flower, gaandar kapoor?” Mr Sheik asked. “He planted so much of it that you could smell the temple from a distance. He planted eleven kinds of flowers, and vegetables too. And that garden used to be full of the most beautiful butterflies. All kinds of butterflies that you don’t see anywhere else. You didn’t have to be one of the Hindu faith to feel the beauty of the place.”

“Especially for Kartik (the festival of the sea), we used to have crowds of people here,” another villager remembers. “They used to have three day-festivals. People used to come and stay and cook and sing … ”

Sadhu had finally created a place of pilgrimage for Hindus in Trinidad, which had few public temples at the time.

That was in the late 1930s. But then the management of the sugar company, who owned all the land in that area, noticed that a building had been constructed on their property. Though the swampy ground had no commercial value, they demanded that Sadhu demolish the temple.

That was asking him to commit a sin. No matter what threats they used, all he would say was, “I cannot break down that.”

They took the matter to the court in Port of Spain. Sadhu was fined $500, more than two years’ wages, and was sentenced to 14 days in prison for trespassing. He had to pay the fine in instalments.

“He make a jail.” Just thinking of it, Mr Sheik burst into tears. “Sadhu was such a soft man, and he make an honourable jail rather than break the temple.”

The sugar company was granted a court order to demolish the temple. But since they could not persuade any local person to undertake this task, a British overseer named Gunn, “a large red-faced man” according to Mr Sheik, drove the bulldozer that finally wiped Sadhu’s creation from the face of the earth.

According to some accounts, Sadhu warned Gunn, “Just as you break that temple with that bulldozer, so you too will be broken.” Others say he just pleaded quietly with the overseer. Whatever the truth, within a month, Gunn was dead. As he was bulldozing a tree some distance away, it fell on him and broke his back. In addition, stated Ramnarine Binda, a former local government councillor for the area and a sugar company official, the Englishman who had given the order for the demolition died suddenly of disease soon after.

As soon as Sadhu was released from prison, say village reports, he was back at the site of his former temple, dejected but not broken. He set about purchasing a truck. He began to collect broken bricks from a nearby brick factory. He dumped them on the shore, day after day, load after load, in a straight line out to sea. Flattening them down by hand, he inched his way into the ocean with the truck. After several weeks, he had created an extended walkway into the water.

Visitors were intrigued. “I used to have two fishing trawlers,” Mr Sheik said, “and I used to be at the same spot in the evening waiting for them to come in. I used to watch Sadhu working for three-four hours out there in the sea.”

One day the tide came up while Sadhu was still working. The truck was trapped and couldn’t be moved till next morning. It was so badly damaged it couldn’t be repaired.

“You would have thought that would stop Sadhu.” Mr Sheik raised his eyebrows. “But no. He just continued working. He would put two buckets onto the handlebars of his bicycle. In one he would have cement, in the other, sand. And he would wheel those buckets out along the walkway he had made, day after day. That is how he built that mandir. I am talking about one man, not six men. He did that for more than a year.

Sadhu was building, not just a temple, but an entire prayer complex, with three mandirs, a kitchen, a dining room, a restroom and another room. Around the whole thing ran a verandah.

“We used to say the sea will wash away everything,” Binda said. “Sometimes I used to pass and see him up to his waist in water, building. We all laughed at him, I included.”

But once the project was completed, it became the focus of admiration for visitors from far and wide. Hundreds of people came for days and weeks at a time, especially at Kartik and other important Hindu occasions. The sea rang with music and prayer.

“I used to go down the islands with my trawlers,” said Mr Sheik. “And quite from the Bocas I could see Sadhu’s kootiah, white and beautiful in the distance. You could use it as a guide to go home.”

Sadhu, too, finally went home, on his last pilgrimage in India before he died in 1970 of a heart attack. But before that, villagers say, he spent many happy hours in his temple.

For a while, the fruit of his faith was left in the hands of the sea, a fact that grieved Waterloo villagers of all faiths and races. Not only Hindus felt strongly about it. “I am a Muslim,” thundered Mr Sheik, “and this is a Hindu business. But it is hurting me to see the destruction. A man make an honourable jail for that temple. You mean to say we can’t keep it up”.

But Mr Sheik got his wish. In 1994, work on reconstructing Sadhu’s temple began, restoring it as a place of worship, a place of beauty and dedication, a shrine and monument to the spirit of a remarkable man. Eighteen months later, on December 10, 1995, the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir was consecrated, with Sadhu’s remaining family among the large crowds.

In a sense, Sewdass Sadhu himself watched the festivities: for a handsome statue of him now stands upon the shore.

Credits to – Niala Maharaj

https://www.caribbean-beat.com/issue-18/temple-sea-0#axzz6W9oKgV26

 

Sewdass Sadhu, a devout Hindu and indentured labourer, built this temple which is now officially titled the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir, but is more commonly referred to as The Temple In The Sea. It is a popular site of worship in the local Hindu community and a tourist attraction.

On January 1st 1903, Sadhu was born in Benares by the Ganges River, India. When he was four, his family migrated to Barrancore Village (modern day Brickfield), Trinidad where they would toil at the Waterloo Estates. Although he was a poor man, it is said he returned to his homeland on pilgrimages to Bhaarat every few years. On one such journey, he was so touched after receiving a benediction by a pundit that he vowed to build a mandir when he returned to Trinidad. It is believed that the Gulf of Paria was like the Ganges to him, and as such he built the temple by the seashore. This task proved difficult as he had use of only a bicycle and a bucket to transport materials. It was nevertheless completed in October 1947 and during the following 4 years, poojas were performed by Hindus from Waterloo and the surrounding villages.

It was constructed at MacMillan Park, private land owned by Tate and Lyle Limited, a leading sugar cane company. When they became aware that the land was being used in 1952, they demanded that Sadhu remove the structure. When he refused, it was demolished by court order and he was fined $500 and imprisoned for 14 days for trespassing. This did not stop him from rebuilding the temple that same year, this time 500 feet into the sea in the Gulf of Paria on reclaimed land.

This time he acquired a truck to move materials for an even bigger undertaking, a prayer complex in the sea consisting of a pooja area, a kitchen and rest room. He collected broken bricks from a nearby factory and laid them by hand using sand and cement, a labour that took him hours on evenings after work during low tides. This formed the pedestrian causeway to the temple. One day while working on this stage of the walkway, the tide came in and trapped the truck, leaving it irreparably damaged. This did not stop Sadhu, who once again transported materials on the handlebars of his bicycle with two buckets. The foundation for the temple was made using oil drums from another local business, which were filled with concrete and tied with steel. Stones were used in making the base for the island, and the temple’s octagonal main structure made of concrete. The temple was dedicated to Lord Shesha Naaraayana, the one who dwells in the sea and filled with murtis of Ganesh, Siddartha, Shiva and many other Hindu deities.

The temple stood for many years, enjoyed by many before Sadhu’s death in 1970. It sadly became neglected after his death and was reclaimed by the sea after years of erosion, which upset both Hindus and non-Hindus alike. In 1994, local businessmen rallied together to have the temple built for a third time, and in conjunction with the Government, the temple that still stands today began construction in 1994. Upon completion in 1995 it was consecrated as the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir with new pier allowing persons to have access during high tide and a statue of Sewdass Sadhu, proudly standing on the shore.

The site is an active prayer site, often used for weddings, pooja ceremonies and cremations as the Waterloo Cremation Site is next to the grounds of the temple.

credits to – https://buzz.tt/venue/the-temple-in-the-sea-sewdass-sadhu-shiv-mandir-1414

Templeinethesea9

Aerial view of Temple in the sea at at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad and Tobago [WEST INDIES]
This Hindu Temple at in Trinidad is testament of one man’s love of Hinduism. The Temple was the 25-year attempt of Siewdass Sadhu to construct a worship centre at no-man’s land – the sea. Sadhu was denied land to build his beloved temple and took his struggle offshore, toiling and unloading buckets of dirt into the Gulf in an effort to create artificial land.
Overview
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This Hindu temple was built through perseverance and strength. The Waterloo Temple, better known as Temple in the Sea, is an octagonal- shaped colourful structure. At the entrance of the temple, stands a statue of its designer Seedas Sadhu. Flags and statues adorn the temple’s perimetre. Before entering, you must remove your shoes because once inside, you are on holy ground. The beauty of reverence is reflected in the well-crafted murtis of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva and Mother Durga and flowers adorned around them. The temple was first built in 1947 by indentured labourer Sadhu, whose dream was to build a place of worship. That dream was short lived as, five years later, it was destroyed by the government of the time since it was built on State-owned Caroni land. Not discouraged, Sadhu rebuilt the temple – this time in the sea to avoid the further incident. For the next 25 years, Sadhu dedicated himself to completing the temple. On his bicycle and in a leather bag, he carried stone by stone, assembling the base of the temple. In 1994, the government at the time helped finish the temple in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the coming of Indians to the country. A pier was added to ensure the Waterloo Temple could easily be accessed during high tide.
This Hindu Temple at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad is testament of one man’s love of Hinduism. The Temple was the 25-year attempt of Siewdass Sadhu to construct a worship centre at no-man’s land – the sea. Sadhu was denied land to build his beloved temple and took his struggle offshore, toiling and unloading buckets of dirt into the Gulf in an effort to create artificial land.
Credits To – Worldwide Hindu Temple
 
Temple in the Sea Trinidad: Siewdass Sadhu Shiva Mandir

 


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