Yasodhara Ashram is planning to rebuild after a fire destroyed the original Temple of Light in June 2014.

Yasodhara Ashram is planning to rebuild after a fire destroyed the original Temple of Light in June 2014.

Kootenay Bay temple rebuild planned

After a fire destroyed the original Temple of Light in June, Yasodhara Ashram is now preparing for a redesign and rebuild.

Yasodhara Ashram is embarking on a project of renewal and hope. After a fire destroyed the original Temple of Light in June, Yasodhara Ashram is now preparing for a redesign and rebuild of their cherished temple.

The renowned Vancouver firm of Patkau Architects has been chosen from many applicants to lead the design process.

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

The original temple, completed in 1992, was a longtime vision of the founder of the Ashram, Swami Radha. Current president Swami Lalitananda explained, “The temple represented the values and vision of the Ashram — that this is a place open to people from all spiritual traditions. The next iteration of the temple is to say, yes, we honour that vision.”

Long a landmark on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, the Temple of Light 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. 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,” said Swami Lalitananda.

The design and planning phases for the temple rebuild will span 2015, with hopes to have the temple under construction and completed in 2016.