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Sai temple gets costly facelift

- 3-storey building to replace old structure at Rs 1.2cr

Hazaribagh’s first Sai temple, which made a debut in the town early this year, is set to become grander.

The existing one-storey building at Okni Mohalla, which was renovated and a 6-feet structure of Shirdi Sai Baba installed in February, will be demolished and a new, bigger structure built in what will be the most expensive temple of Hazaribagh.

A Calcutta-based architect has been roped in to construct the three-storey building, which will be largely modelled on the Shirdi Sai temple, spread over two cottahs at a cost of Rs 1.2 crore.

“We had originally approached a Ranchi-based architect to design the temple. The architect, in turn, contacted the Calcutta designer after paying a visit here in August. The sum will be raised through donations. We started work from Vijaya Dashami,” said temple committee member Navendu Shankar.

Apart from boasting halls for prayers, the new temple will have rooms for priests and a meditation centre on the second floor for devotees.

“We have asked the architect to design the structure in such a way that devotees get the feeling that they are visiting the Shirdi Sai temple,” Shankar added.

Situated near Main Road, Okni Mohalla is known for its high land rates. But its dirty roads, overflowing drains and heaps of garbage make it one of the dirtiest localities of the town.

However, the establishment of Sai temple turned things around, with hitherto unconcerned residents taking up cleanliness drives on their own to keep the road leading to the temple dirt-free. In fact, eight shops have already come up near the temple, selling puja paraphernalia right from flowers to pictures of Shirdi Sai Baba.

“The residents of the mohalla are mostly from low income group and care very little about hygiene. However, the presence of the temple has inculcated a civic sense in them and they are helping the committee keep the area clean,” Shankar said.

According to sources, a second Sai temple was under construction on the banks of Chhath Talab near Indrapuri Cinema. The budget is more than Rs 60 lakh and the temple will be completed in a few months.