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.

Iraivan Under Construction

Iraivan Temple Annual Report

In Bengaluru, silpis load the 11,000-pound Sivalingam base for its journey to Kauai


In 2001, Gurudeva said: “When you begin the pilgrimage to Iraivan Temple, you drop off and dissolve the karmas of the past. Then, because of the direction the temple is facing, the temple gives a new start, a new impetus for a wonderful future. It is a boon-giving temple, a gift-giving temple, a life-giving temple, a wish-fulfilling temple.”

Our Fund-Raising Goal for
September 2014 to August 2015

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.

Bodhinatha's Appeal

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami

Namaste and Aloha!
On the pragmatic side, Iraivan is built by the continued and generous donations of our global family of temple builders. Last year’s goal was $780,000 ($65,000 per month) while actual donations were a little less, $772,543.76. As those of you in touch with the economics of India know, prices have been rising rapidly. This includes the cost of carving in Bengaluru, which has doubled over the last decade. Our monthly goal of $65,000, which we will keep the same for the coming twelve months, allows us to meet these higher costs and continue the carving at a moderate pace. For those interested in moving the project ahead faster, the carving and shipping time frame for the perimeter wall could be reduced from approximately four years to two if monthly donations for the next two years amounted to $125,000 (instead of $65,000)—a total of $1.44 million in additional donations over the next two years.

Gurudeva liked to stress that there is a mystical side as well to building Iraivan Temple. In a talk he gave in Kadavul Temple on Mahasivaratri in 1997, he said, “I see a wonderful future. True, we are building Iraivan Temple, but Iraivan Temple is built on your sadhana. Iraivan Temple is built on your tapas, and in your overcoming various things you’ve done in the past that were adharmic—not right to do to others and to yourself. Iraivan Temple has to stand for ahimsa. It has to stand for perfect harmony between humans. It stands for mind control and for individual desire for moksha.”

Many of our global family of temple builders are participating in Gurudeva’s vision of a temple built on sadhana by regularly pilgrimaging to Kauai’s Hindu Monastery. In response, we have developed a booklet for pilgrims to use to receive the most benefit from their pilgrimage. It includes twenty-one sadhanas to perform on the monastery property, six exercises in claiming your spiritual identity, twelve meditations in the Shum language as well as pre-trip and post-trip sadhanas. (It can be downloaded at

Here is a concluding quote from Gurudeva on Iraivan Temple as a pilgrimage destination: “In 1995, as I look into the future, I see Iraivan … as 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,


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

Click here to download the PDF of the Stone Sponsor form, to see various available options, if you would like to sponsor some specific stones.

Click here to make an online donation now.

Mail your check to:

Iraivan Temple Fund
107 Kaholalele Road
Kapaa, Hawaii 96746–9304 USA
808–664–0054, ext. 108

Perimeter wall design

Artistic depiction of the perimeter wall of the temple.

The Unfolding Story of Hawaii’s San Marga Iraivan Temple,
America’s Only All-Granite Hindu Sanctuary


Above: Bodhinatha and Shanmuganathaswami with our team of craftsmen in Bengaluru in August


Above: silpi uses a carbide-tipped chisel for fine detailing of a roof panel of the Nandi Mandapam; Below: one corner of the Nandi Mandapam

mandapam corner

As the detailed adornments are completed on the final stones of the Nandi Mandapam in Bengaluru, India, the focus is shifting to the perimeter wall. This will be the last major carving project of Iraivan Temple. All the wall stones have been quarried and are now at the worksite, having been rough cut during the past year to their approximate final ­dimensions.

So, what remains to be done before the temple’s kumbhabhishekam? Here is the short list:

  1. Bring a team of silpis to Hawaii. They have many tasks ahead of them: joint and assemble the Nandi Mandapam (including the kodimaram, which has to be gold leafed), joint and assemble the perimeter wall, place the entry steps and two elephants, finish the rajagopuram steps and install the 13-foot-tall Hanuman on His massive rock pedestal.
  2. Hire US craftsmen to install granite floor tiles in the second prakaram (between the temple and the perimeter wall).
  3. Apply the lava rock facing to the temple’s four-foot-high plinth.
  4. Install drainage pipes to channel water away from the temple.
  5. Shape and landscape the paths around the temple and improve the San Marga path from the Rudraksha Forest.
  6. Construct restroom units at the Kuamo‘o Road entrance.
  7. Expand the existing parking area near the Rudraksha Forest to accommodate temple pilgrims.

Accomplishments for 2013-2014


Giant boulders waiting to be set in place

It has been a year of notable progress. To begin, Martin Mosko’s landscape design around Iraivan Temple has moved forward substantially. Dozens of huge boulders were hauled from the quarry for placement in the coming year. About a thousand feet along the east side of San Marga were cleared of brush and weed trees, revealing the double row of rudraksha trees planted in the 1990s. This opened up the area, still canopied by trees, for landscaping in the coming year. A giant excavator worked for weeks near the temple, removing invasive albizia trees and opening up a grand vista down from Iraivan Temple to the Rishi Valley ponds and waterfalls.


An excavator clears major underbrush to prepare for lanscscaping

A new roadway was carved around our Hou Bush Pond, providing an alternative access to the front of the temple. In preparation for extensive planting needs, the monks have brought in thousands of tissue-cultured plants, potted them and are now waiting for them to mature. The fencing of the western side of the temple land was finished by the monks. A surveying firm was hired to precisely demarcate the boundary and prepare a map of the property that will help with the landscaping project.

And, most importantly, a new monk, Sadhaka Dayanatha, became a part of the monastery family this year. He has joined the group of monks that oversee the maintenance of the temple grounds.


Holly Young's next bronze master piece takes shape in wax (the silpi here is splitting a rough stone with mutiple chisels).

Sculptor Holly Young continued on the Temple Builders’ Memorial, making life-size bronze sculptures showing the various stages of the stone carving process. The entire memorial will take another two years or so. It is financed by a single donor independently of the rest of the temple fundraising.

Two containers were shipped from India with many of the Nandi Mandapam stones, including Nandi Himself. Packed along with Nandi were life-size statues of Gurudeva (photo at left) and Bodhinatha, the 5-ton avudaiyar (base) for the crystal Sivalingam and the five 32-inch-tall bronzes of Siva’s five powers, which will be installed in niches on the outside of the main sanctum. The containers also brought us two sets of beautiful yallis (ornamental handrails). The large set is for the front steps leading from ground level up to the Nandi Mandapam. The smaller set is for the steps that lead from the second prakaram floor in front of the Nandi Mandapam into the temple proper, through the rajagopuram. There were obstacles to overcome, as on September 11 the vessel carrying the containers ran aground on a reef in Saipan midway through its voyage! Two days later it was rescued. Our stones had to be loaded onto another ship to continue their journey to Hawaii.

Giant stone delivery

A giant stone is being delivered from the quarry

In the past year Iraivan Temple Endowment was increased by $818,655—set aside, as Gurudeva decreed, from the monthly contributions from our generous donors. The fund, now over $6.4 million, will maintain the temple and its land far into the future.

Here on Kauai renovation of the silpi residence began. Volunteers have come forward to improve the building.

In summary, the past 12 months have seen dynamic progress. We can all visualize the grand consecration not too many years in the future, as the work to be done before that auspicious date is clear. With Gurudeva’s blessings and your generous support, the funds will manifest to make it all happen. After that, even with the temple open and fulfilling its mission, we will continue to work together to manifest Gurudeva’s vision of the San Marga Sanctuary in all its fullness, including the Visitors’ Center.

Gurudeva’s Sacred Vision

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

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.

Future Highlights

With the Nandi Mandapam carving behind us as we enter 2015, our Bengaluru silpis will focus for two to four years on carving the perimeter wall; the pace depends on how many silpis we can hire. We will bring the next silpi team to Kauai once the carving of the wall is nearly finished.

Silpi Memorial Art

On Kauai, work is continuing with our massive landscaping project, which is being entirely sponsored by an anonymous donor. Current work involves the removal of unwanted vegetation to open up the area around the temple. This will allow us to reshape the elevations and properly contour it for paths and garden features. Then the huge boulders that architect Martin Mosko is incorporating throughout the landscape will be set in place. The next phase will be the placement of an array of exotic tropical plants. Holly Young has completed sculpting the fifth of eight bronze masterpieces for the Temple Builders’ Memorial: two silpis working on a stone. She will soon begin the piece that shows the sthapati marking a pillar and a sculptor doing finished carvings.

Video: Carving Activities

In this video we see 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.

Slideshow: Iraivan Through the Years