Endeavour Mandir Keeping the Flag of Sanatan Dharma Flying High
Moonan and his wife Chandra are devotees of the Endeavour Mandir located on the Endeavour Road, Chaguanas. Residents of Caroni Savannah Road, Chaguanas, Moonan and Chandra are retirees and have been regular devotees at the mandir for several years.
Devoted to their dharma, Moonan and Chandra went on a tour of India last December. “This was a dream come true,” said Moonan. “India is a beautiful place. We visited temples, enjoyed the foods and also shopped.” Moonan is hoping to make another trip shortly “but the cost Is prohibitive,”
Photo : Ramdeo Boodram and children of the mandir
Last Saturday the mandir celebrated Saraswati Jayanti. My sister, Tara, and I visited the mandir on an invitation from Moonan and Chandra. When we arrived at the mandir a bhajan group was on stage leading in chants and devotees were clapping and singing. On the altar a pooja was being performed by a pandit and several children. Also seated on the altar was Ramdeo Boodram, the President of the mandir.
Not long after Pandit Kailash took a seat on the singhasan. With his guitar, he led the chanting with the bhajan group and devotees chorusing. It was a very vibrant atmosphere.
Pandit Kailash and his brother, Pandit Kiran, are residents of Endeavour and have grown up in the mandir. Young, talented and knowledgeable, their father, Bhola Singh, and their mother, Tina, were devotees of the mandir. Bhola would play the dholak and Tina would sing. Devoted to their dharma, both Kailash and Kiran participated in a two-year training program for pandits at the Chimaya Mission under tutelage of Swami Prakashananda. After successfully completing the programs the two brothers are now active at the Endeavour Mandir and the Waterloo Mandir.
Photo : Pandit Kailash
Pandit Kailash delivered the pravachan for the evening. It was on Mother Saraswati and the concept of intelligence in Hinduism. This was followed by closing prayers. Meals were prepared and served while those who had offerings to make to the alter were invited to do so. Pandit Kiran was on the altar guiding devotees in their offerings.
The chanting continued uninterrupted. In the kitchen there were a few volunteers inviting devotees to partake of the meals prepared.
The Endeavour Mandir is an affiliate of the Federation of Hindu Mandir. Recently the mandir participated in the Hindu Mandir Conference held on 7-9th December, 2018 at Divali Nagar. The Mandir also participated in the Hanuman Yatra last year to commemorate Hanuman Jayante. The Yatra which started at 6 am at Divali Nagar visited more that 50 mandirs in central Trinidad including the Endeavour Mandir and culminated with a mass gathering of thousands of devotees despite damp weather.
The Endeavour Mandir was initiated by devotees in the 1940s. The mandir was vibrant until the 1980s when it went dormant and was abandoned. Pandit Rabindranath Maharaj worked with devotees and revived the mandir. Repairs and refurbishment of the mandir was led by Krishna Narinesingh who was elected President.
Pandit Poornima later entered the mandir and worked with the devotees. Following his death, Pandit Poornima’s son, Pandit Kuldeep, continued the service. Other pandits such as Pandit Beeshram and Pandit Amar would come time and again. But the one glue holding the temple is its President, Ramdeo Boodram.
Photo : Devotees of Waterloo Mandir.
A visionary, Ramdeo has not isolated the mandir but has built bridges with other devotees and leaders. The mandir’s affiliation with the Federation of Hindu Organization provides it with the support of other pandits and devotees.
The mandirs conducts a regular weekly Satsangh every Thursday at 7 pm. The attendance averages 25. Sometimes it may reach 40. “We are having a three-night yagya preceding the observance of Shiv-ratri. We shall be staying up all night for Shiv Ratri,” said Boodram.
Like most mandirs, the challenge is to increase attendance. The absence of youths-teens and young adults- is very visible. I asked Boodram: “What strategies the mandir uses to attract devotees?” He responded: “We advertise our regular Satsangh and special events on the NOTICE BOARD.” I suggest to Boodram that devotees reach out to families inviting them to the mandir. I also suggested that the mandir creates a What’s App group to link devotees. He was unsure how many devotees have What’s App.
Nevertheless, the Endeavour Mandir is on the rise. With two youthful pandits at the fore and a visionary leader at the helm, the mandir can only go forward. I also noted the commitment of a number of dedicated devotees with welcoming smiles on the faces and the eagerness to make all devotees comfortable.