A 4.5 meter statue of the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, the god of destruction has been unveiled at what is being called the first man-made underground cave temple, in Minto, New South Wales, a suburb of the metropolis Sydney in Australia. The temple has been constructed by the Mukti-Gupteshwar Mandir Society and was completed in August 2014.
Prem Misra, temple committee chief said that visitors were coming in from Sydney and beyond to get a look at the statue, which he says is unique in that it has four arms, whereas most Shiva statues have only two arms. “It’s a luxurious statue that people worship,” he said.
Mishra says that the statue comes from Varanasi, and was donated by an ashram there to the Mukti-Gupteshwar Mandir Society. “It was a gift to Australia from India. It is their appreciation to Australia and it links the two countries together,” he said. The statue i surrounded by seven LED lights that alternate one after the other over a period of seven minutes, which results in a constant change in the hue of the statue.
The cave temple’s inner sanctum is located at a depth of 10 meters below ground and according to Mishra, contains the waters of 81 major rivers on the planet, mixed with the waters of the five oceans. Australia’s major rivers were also used to collect water from. The main temple contains 1128 smaller temples, within which pilgrims and devotees have scribbled Om Namah Shivaya on sheets of paper to be left there. Om Namah Shivaya is a sacred chant that honors the name of Shiva, the destroyer of the Hindu pantheon. Over two million such notes are currently within the temple.