The Yasodhara Ashram's Temple of Light was damaged beyond repair by a June fire.

The Yasodhara Ashram's Temple of Light was damaged beyond repair by a June fire.

Kootenay Lake’s Yasodhara Ahsram planning rebuild of Temple of Light

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  • Jan. 2, 2015 10:00 a.m.

The Yasodhara Ashram is preparing for a redesign and rebuild of its cherished Temple of Light, which was destroyed by a fire in June.

The design process will be led by Patkau Architects, a Vancouver firm.

“It’s so rare to have a project that is about aspiration as opposed to meeting some sort of expedient requirements,” said architect John Patkau in a press release. “The opportunity to do something that speaks to all the senses and the spirit is a rare and wonderful challenge.”

The original temple, completed in 1992, was a longtime vision of Swami Sivananda Radha, who founded the ashram in 1963.

“The temple represented the values and vision of the ashram — that this is a place open to people from all spiritual traditions,” said current president Swami Lalitananda in the press release. “The next iteration of the temple is to say, yes, we honour that vision.”

The Temple of Light’s white dome was a landmark on Kootenay Lake, and attracted visitors and spiritual pilgrims from around the world.

“Even though this is one little temple in the wilderness of the Kootenays, we see it as a symbol of hope in the world,” said Lalitananda. “The world can feel so divided, and the temple is where we recognize unity — the light in each other — not division. The temple was, and will be again, a sacred space where we can come together in harmony.”

The design and planning phases will run 2015, with a goal of having construction completed in 2016.

The fire broke out late in the evening of June 5, and the Riondel and Balfour-Harrop volunteer fire departments responded, working through the night and extinguishing the fire after about 12 hours.