UDUPI: Gabriel Nazareth, a 77-year old Catholic businessman from Shirva, has become an embodiment of communal harmony by building a temple dedicated to Lord Siddhi Vinayaka for his Hindu brethren. He spent Rs 2 crore to construct the temple, in memory of his parents -- Late Fabian Sebastian Nazereth and Sabeena Nazereth -- on his 15 cents of ancestral land, and gifted it to the Hindu community.
“I always felt blessed by Lord Siddhi Vinayaka since the time I became a devotee of the deity 60 years ago. I completed by SSLC in 1959 and went to Mumbai in search of a job. I was just 14 years old then and was staying near Prabhadevi in Mumbai. A little further was the famous Siddhi Vinayaka temple where I paid obeisance to the lord every day,” he told The New Indian Express.
After some years, he started a metal dying workshop and became a successful entrepreneur, starting business units in three different places.
At the recently opened temple, a beautiful black coloured 36-inch Ganesha idol was installed. A house for the temple priest has also been built near the temple. The temple administration has been handed over to a three-member committee comprising engineer Nagesh Hegde and Gabriel’s friends Sathish Shetty and Ratnakar Kukyan.
Sathish Shetty said that Gabriel single-handedly built the temple without any donations due to his devotion for Lord Siddhi Vinayaka.
Gabriel, who came back to Shirva 12 years ago, decided to construct the temple here as he had wound up his business in Mumbai. Eight years back, he had renovated a ‘Naga Bana’ (sacred grove) near Bantakal in Shirva. Though a bachelor, he has financially assisted more than 60 people to get married