ITALY, September 9, 2013 (La Stampa by Luca Maragliano): A corner of India is very close to Altare. That's the impression that you had yesterday, along the stretch of road that leads from the village in the locality Pellegrino, where stands the Gitananda Ashram; the most famous Hindu monastery of Italy and Europe. Yesterday the Ashram hosted the annual festival dedicated to the God Ganesh, the anniversary most heartfelt and loved by all Hindus, not only in India but all over the world. The event this year also received the patronage of the Region, the Province and the Municipality of Altare.
And the faithful pilgrims were more than a thousand, as planned by the organizers, from all over the North of Italy that began arriving at the place of worship nestled in the woods, from the early hours of the morning: thirteen coaches, from Milan, Vicenza, Modena and many other cities, and parked in the parking lot of Vispa, not to mention the dozens and dozens of cars and campers parked along the road. "We are delighted to be here together today to celebrate Ganesh," said Swami Yogananda Giri, founder and spiritual leader of the temple - "and we thank the communities that have come to share with us this day."
So many nationalities, in fact, were represented yesterday (such as those in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, that in the morning they received the telephone greetings from the Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge. "I am pleased to greet all those present at the monastery" - Minister Kyenge said in his speech, "and take this occasion also to remember the recent agreement between the State and the Italian Hindu Union, because I believe that in Europe today there is another community that has yet to receive such recognition. A victory of all institutions. "
Founded in 1984 as a place of prayer and study of the Hindu tradition, the Ashram of Altare has slowly grown until arriving today to be considered one of the largest in Europe.