A temple is being constructed in suburban Warsaw, capital of Poland. The Polish ministry of internal affairs and administration (MSWiA) recently registered the proposed temple site as a holy shrine and cleared the decks for construction work to begin. The Indian Association of Poland (IAP), a community outfit behind the project, requested the MSWiA to register the shrine. IAP hopes to open the temple in August and call it the Hindu Bhavan.

Built on a 3,300 sq m plot of land, which housed an industrial unit, the temple will have idols of nine Hindu deities.

Seema Motwani, IAP secretary, said this was being done to celebrate religious pluralism within the community. Motwani’s husband Suresh, who is on the panel monitoring the project, said the idols will be imported from Jaipur. He added marble and patterns for interiors will also be imported from India to depict Hindu iconography.

“The interior work is almost complete. Work will now begin on the external facade,” Suresh said.

IAP treasurer Pradeep Nayar said the money for the plot and the project came via donations from community members. “We are hoping that the temple sensitises the community youth towards Indian tradition and customs,” said Motwani. “Having been born and brought up in Poland, many youngsters here are not exposed to Indian culture and religious practices. Once the temple is completed, we are hoping to bridge the gap,” she added.

Apart from religious festivities, IAP also plans to hold social and community functions in the premises. A special hall is being constructed for the purpose. “The plan is to create a facility where the community can get together.”

The Indian community wants to use the place of worship as a tool to integratewith the Polish society. “We have plans to invite our Polish friends for Indian festivals and rituals,” Motwani said. Eighty-five Polish nationals support the initiative and have expressed willingness to become members of the Bhavan.

For a place of worship to be registered as a holy shrine, MSWiA norms require the support of at least 100 people with Polish citizenship.

Fifteen other consent letters were given by Indians, who have acquired Polish citizenship. Hinduism is gradually spreading in Poland, which is dominated by Roman Catholics. Yoga promoted by Hindu religious movements is also gaining popularity in the country.