PALERMO, ITALY, February 23, 2012 (ricerca.repubblica.it, translated from Italian): A search began in 1997 when a group of Mauritians, residents in Palermo, decided to found a temple called Ganesh Mandir, managed by the religious association of the same name. They scoured the whole city before finding a warehouse in the heart of the historic city center that suited them. The temple, which has moved several times, is now located in a narrow alley, Viccolo Guli, just a few steps from the Teatro Massimo [Palermo's famous opera house].
The place, dedicated to the religious needs of part of Mauritian immigrant community, also welcomes those of other nationalities who practice the Hindu religion. Especially on the special days of prayer dedicated to Lord Siva. The space, however, is very small. It is an old warehouse divided into two rooms. The community, which has a thousand people, pays a rent of US$615 per month, plus all expenses, for this warehouse converted into a temple. To raise the money, all the members give a portion of their budget, according to their income level.
The temple opens every evening at eight o'clock and on Sunday at five in the afternoon. The space can accommodate a hundred people at a time, with many having to wait their turn for prayer outside the door.
These Mauritian Hindus say, "Most of us live in the area, so when we finish work in the late afternoon, we prepare ourselves and come to the temple. It would be nice to have a bigger space. But it is not easy in Palermo. Rents are expensive and we cannot afford one." To hear it from this community, the ideal would be to have a single place large enough to accommodate all of the Hindu immigrants from different countries, but it's a fairly large number, more than 3,000 people. So what has happened is that each group has started wtih a small place to use as a temple for now.