Overlooking the city of Port-of-Spain, many are unfamiliar with the Kailash mandir and its history. The temple was built in Gonzales over 70 years ago, by Hindu devotees who settled in Port-of-Spain.
The mandir transformed from a mud hut to a concrete structure and it is now being transformed to its pristine glory.
With Divali celebrations expected to commence in the next few days, a community organisation called the Community Re-Developers started the process of upkeeping the mandir.
Public Relations Officer, Kevin Felix said the organisation was focused on helping the community and working on projects to make it safer.
He said the group is made up of advocates who are focussed on bringing the community back to a place where they once enjoyed living like neighbours.
“This is a monument in the community that we all grow up and have been seeing a lot of festivals and a lot of stuff used to happen here so just like in Waterloo there is the Temple in the Sea, we in Gonzales, Temple Street have the Temple in the Sky. So we really just want to refurbish the place. We have phase one of the projects to look at refurbishing the outside where we will be painting and looking at the roof as well,” Felix said.
Community Re-Developers is also looking at other projects, from skills training, fundraisers and other infrastructure projects in the community.
Kailash Mandir was left in the wilderness and this Divali the group expects to light the temple up with deyas, a sight that will be seen in the city.
Temple devotee and a man who helped build the first structure with his bare hands, Micheal Jhinoo remembers the day when the decision was made to build the temple.
He says he was just about 15 years old.
“I remember cutting Tapia grass and mixing it with mud as the elders directed us that they were planning to build the temple on the hill. I followed as a young boy and helped the elders”, he said.
So why is it named Kailash?
It is derived from the name of a mountain in the Himalayas that is believed to be the paradise of the Hindu God Shiva.
They hope that this Divali, the Kailash mandir will beam from the hilltop.