Yogini Shakti Peetham in Awhitu Peninsula is a manifestation of divinity
Ratna Venkat –
According to ‘Sthapatya Veda,’ the ancient Vedic text on the principles of Architecture based on Natural Law, “If there is perfection in the measurements of a building, there will be perfection in the universe as well.”
This famous passage inspired Auckland-based engineer and architect Dr Neil Hamill to cultivate a deep interest in the study and practice of Vedic architecture, encouraging him to conceptualise and construct a unique Hindu Temple complex in New Zealand, regarded as the only one of its kind in the modern world.
Named ‘Yogini Shakti Peetham’ (in Sanskrit that roughly translates to ‘Female Energy Place’), the nine-acre plot is situated in Pollock on Awhitu Peninsula, almost 95 kilometres from Auckland.
It is open to the public but by appointment only.
Inspiration from Kerala
The Vedic Temple compound, with its external structures built to be in oneness with the landscaped reserve of Pollock, contains the main ‘Yogini’ monument in its interior dedicated to the 64 Yoginis of the Universe, which incidentally represents the mathematics of ‘Sthapatya Veda.’
Its design, concept and construction was influenced by the last Vedic Temple built in 800 AD in Kerala, with ancient traditional methods that constituted 200 years in the making. The New Zealand counterpart however, developed by Dr Hamill, took less than six years to construct using concrete as a modern solution and moulds made of a special material shaped in computer-controlled mining.
- Dr Neil Hamill with Acharya Tiwari
- A Section of the 64 Yoginis
- Lord Buddha at the Temple Complex
- Dr Neili Hamill performing a Pooja with his wife Gaynor
- A place for meditation
About Neil Hamill
Dr Hamill trained in ‘Maharishi Sthapatya Veda’ in Year 2000 in Kerala and has designed 120 houses and commercial buildings.
In 2009, he qualified in Temple design and completed a PhD on the subject.
During his studies, he found that the 64 Yogini Temple represented the mathematics of ‘Sthapatya Veda.’ Dr Hamill also found that it contains all the numbers mentioned by his Guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his ‘Apaurasheya Bhashya’ – the un-manifest, eternal commentary on the Vedas.
Hence, this is considered as a ‘print-out’ of deep Vedic knowledge.
Discussions about this project first occurred in 2008, when Dr Hamill came into close contact with Head Priest Acharya Ajay Tiwari of ‘Sanskrit Yoga & Jyotish Trust.’ Acharya Ajay’s expertise in Vedic knowledge and Sanskrit literature assisted Dr Hamill in the proper analysis of sacred scriptures and in the selection of appropriate Hindu and Buddhist idols around the plot.
In addition, considerable research was made into selecting and proportioning each of the 64 Yogini ‘Murtis’ (Statues).
Swami Shardanand, Head of ‘Vednidhi Ashram,’ a Vedic research foundation in Varanasi, was pivotal in arranging an artist to copy drawings from palm-leaf records held in museums. The pure white marble obtained from Mirzapur was then carefully transported to Varanasi for skilled carvers to transform the marble stones into marvellous works of art, taking several years to finish the statues.
The Temple building project was completed and inaugurated in October 2014, after the Hindu festival of ‘Navratri.’
It was an apt occasion that paid homage to all the forms of ‘Shakti,’ which the Temple represents in its name.
When entering the complex of ‘Yogini Shakti Peetham,’ one is perhaps perplexed that this is indeed a Hindu Temple, given its striking resemblance to either a nature-friendly Buddhist monastery or even a divine retreat centre.
However, its building and design are not only centred to the Vedic period, but are also in 100% accordance to Vastu Shastra (the Indian equivalent of Feng Shui).
In a beautiful green country such as New Zealand, such localities do not just invite people to come and meditate among the serenity of nature; they also educate in understanding and appreciating India’s forgotten Vedic culture, that is, the ancient pre-roots of modern-day Hinduism.
‘Yogini Shakti Peetham’ is thus not exclusive to Hindus alone, it is for people of all ethnicities who wish to mediate, realise the Almighty and detach from worldly desires within the precincts of a re-constructed ancient architecture.
The temple represents the Divine Mother in many aspects. It nurtures and protects our ‘Shakti,’ the feminine energy that is present in all of us and enlivens our creativity in the environment.
Visitors to the Temple have reported experiences of great peace and tranquillity on their path to self-discovery.
If you are interested in visiting ‘Yogini Shakti Peetham,’ please contact Acharya Ajay Tiwari on 021-0347956. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Ratna Venkat recently visited ‘Yogini Shakti Peetham’ and was inspired by the serene environment, exquisite architecture and purity-filled images of the various forms of Shakti. She The pictures appearing in this article were taken by her.