The Hindu community in Cambridge is celebrating the ground breaking of a new $5 million temple.

Boxwood Drive will be the newest location of the Radha Krishna Mandir, after more than 30 years in a smaller temple on Old Mill Road.

“It’s a place of worship, a place of community, everybody belongs. That’s what we do,” said Dwarka Persaud, the president of Radha Krishna Mandir.

Over 300 people gathered on Tuesday at the new site for a grand Bhoomi Puja ceremony, which pays respect to the land with a prayer prior to the start of construction which is set to start next week.

“It’s a way of symbolically saying this is all from you, we’re giving it back to you,” said Persaud.

The community said the new location was necessary as the Hindu population has grown significantly in Waterloo Region.

“We have Hindus from all across the world, from North India, South India, Guyana, Trinidad and Africa”” said Prakash Naraine, a volunteer coordinator with the temple.

Construction of the new temple will start after celebrations are complete.

The temple will be 21,000 square feet, with three storeys and a large prayer hall. It will also include a banquet hall, a yoga room and classrooms for students.

“It gives us the opportunity to worship and to have social interaction and continue to promote and foster our culture,” said Naraine.

Kathryn McGarry took part in Tuesday’s ceremonies and said this project was a long time coming. “It will bring our community closer and it’s that connectedness, that neighborhood feeling, that’s so important,” she said.

While funds still need to be raised and it will be a year before the temple is built, the community is excited about this next step.

“It’s just participating in it and getting the blessings of everything, that’s truly a blessing on its own,” said Jaya Narine, who’s attended the temple ever since she was a teenager.

Amanda Balkissoon, who has been with the temple for the last 33 years, is looking forward to the new build for her children.

Many in the community are looking to give future generations the opportunity to grow within a new space and keep their culture strong.

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