Durban – Devotees of the Northdale Siva Nyana Sabha in Pietermaritzburg have been left devastated by a burglary which desecrated the temple.
According to the chairman of the temple in Chetty Road, Sagren Phillips, the burglars smashed down the boundary wall between the temple and Ramatha Primary School at the weekend before stripping the building of significant brass Hindu idols, copper pipes, a Yamaha organ, PA system and kitchen implements, including massive cast iron pots, the kitchen geyser and a double-door fridge.
Phillips estimated the damage and losses to be more than R50 000.
“This is just heartbreaking, that people could come into a place of worship and destroy it like this. We are absolutely devastated,” Phillips said.
In the temple, holy brass lamps and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses were stolen, many of which had been donated by families in memory of their loved ones.
“It is a desecration of the worst kind, to disrespect such a sacred and holy place,” Phillips said.
He said thieves tried to remove a huge brass statue of Hindu god Nataraja (cosmic dancing god). It is built in a granite structure, which the thieves tried to break down with an iron pick to remove the idol.
“The statue is now bent over and damaged,” said Phillips, explaining that the statue had been brought from India in 1976.
Phillips has asked the management at Ramatha Primary School to cut the grass which borders the wall that was broken down.
“The grass is as tall as I am, and provides a shield for potential criminals,” he said.
Ramatha Primary School management could not be reached for comment.
Anyone with information regarding the burglary is urged to call detectives at 033 387 9600.