TAMPA HEIGHTS — Rituals, music and blessings surrounded the recent groundbreaking of the Indian temple, Sanatan Mandir.
A drummer in a traditional drummer costume led a procession of church leaders, children and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to the construction site, next to the existing temple at 311 E. Palm Ave.
The $1.5 million project will be constructed of concrete block and bricks has five sikhara (rising towers). Existing deities will be moved to the new 10,600-square-foot temple, which will be 59 feet high and use a style to match the historical architecture of the Tampa Heights neighborhood.
Buckhorn, who had just returned from a trip to India to promote the International Indian Film Academy, which will be in Tampa in late April, praised the building of the new temple.
“Out of this dirt, with bricks and mortar, will come a temple — a place of peace,” Buckhorn told about 200 guests gathered for the Feb. 22 ceremony. “I am proud this is a mile from City Hall.”
He said he is looking forward to the film academy events, known as the Bollywood Oscars, as 800 million people are expected to view the awards ceremony on television.
“What I want them to see is a city that celebrates its diversity; we are a better place because of it,” Buckhorn said.
The existing temple, opened in 1989, will be converted to a community hall, with a professional kitchen.
For information about the temple, see www.ourmandir.org.