About Temple in the Sea
Siewdass Sadhu arrived in Trinidad aboard the SS Ganges. Coming from India as an indentured labourer, he was assigned to work at the Waterloo Estate near the western coast, central Trinidad.
Sadhu was a deeply religious man, therefore after completing his indentureship he wanted to spend the rest of his life in the service of God. As a Hindu, he needed to select the most suitable place to conduct his prayers.
He found an appropriate place approximately 1 kilometre from the seashore of Waterloo. There he constructed a Kutiya (small mandir) and conducted his worship. However, his mandir and prayer activity did not last long. He had an altercation with the land owners (Tate & Lyle) resulting in a trespassing charge and one week imprisonment.
After his release from prison, he decided to construct a Kutiya near the sea where no one would be able to move him. This began the journey of the construction of the Temple in the Sea, off the shore of Waterloo in the Gulf of Paria. The Gulf is naturally shallow at low tide when a bit of the sea bed is exposed near the shore. It was this observation that led Sadhu to begin filling that area to create a path approximately 150 feet long that would lead to his Kutiya. He used 50 gallon steel drums filled with concrete to build the base for his Temple.
This was indeed a herculean task when considering that he initially used a bicycle with buckets hung on its handle bar filled with aggregate. Later on he had the use of a truck which enabled him to carry more material to construct the Temple. It took Sadhu 5 years to complete this task; he started in 1947 and ended in 1952. Even though the Temple was only accessible at low tide, Sadhu finally achieved what he had set out to do. The modest building that Sadhu was able to construct and the building that we have today pays tribute to the spirit of one man’s unwavering dedication in solitude and service to God.
In the days following the construction of the initial Temple in the Sea, Sadhu made several trips to India, sadly each time the Temple was subject to erosion by the elements.
Siewdass Sadhu died in 1971. After his death there was no one to take care of the Temple. Unfortunately, because of the way the Temple in the Sea was constructed, erosion was rapid and very soon there was almost nothing left of the Temple. Efforts were made by many people and organisations to restore the Temple, but to no avail.
Twenty four years later, an engineer by the name of Randolph Rampersad, whose parents had died within the short space of two months of each other, was walking on the seabed to disperse his parents’ ashes. As he looked at the ruined site of the Temple, he decided that the legacy of Siewdass Sadhu should not be allowed to disappear from history. Rampersad vowed there and then to rebuild the Temple as a remembrance and honour to his parents in the spirit of Siewdass Sadhu. Construction began in May of 1995 and was completed in November 1995.
Ten years later, another building was added containing male and female washrooms, a kitchen and accommodation for visiting spiritual gurus. The temple is now officially known as the Siewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir and popularly known as The Temple in the Sea. It is also now officially identified as a Heritage Site by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. Please note that the Temple receives no funding of any sort from Government or other associations. The Temple is managed mainly by donations from the good people of Trinidad and Tobago.
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