Games village to have prayer rooms for athletes of all faiths

By Azera Rahman, IANS,

New Delhi : The Commonwealth Games village in east Delhi, where athletes will be staying during the games in October, will have a special building with prayer rooms for all faiths. This, officials said, will give the athletes a space and option to pray and meditate – crucial for a peaceful mind during the taxing days.

Support TwoCircles

The Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games is in talks with the head priests and management officials of different religious places in Delhi for voluntary service during the games.

“We are in talks with the Akshardham temple, the India Islamic Cultural Centre, a few gurudwaras and other religious places for volunteers to conduct prayer services in the prayer rooms during the games,” Jiji Thomson of the Organising Committee told IANS.

“We don’t want any religious preaching to be done. The aim behind this initiative is to give the athletes an option to pray and meditate if they want to. Prayers have a healing power to soothe frayed nerves,” he added.

The building will, however, be a temporary structure.

“It will be a structure with partitions so that the space is divided into prayer rooms for different faiths like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism. It will however be a temporary structure,” Thomson said.

With all the construction work expected to be wrapped up by June, it’s non-stop work at the massive 63.5 hectare village at the moment.

Nestling close to the Akshardham temple and at a walking distance from the Akshardham metro station, the village has 34 towers with 1,168 flats – two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom-hall-kitchen types.

“The flats where the athletes will be staying are equipped with latest technology from flat screen television sets to a well equipped kitchenette. Also, the flats are disabled-friendly – the bathrooms for instance have handles near the toilet for the benefit of a wheelchair-bound person,” Thomson said.

After the games, the flats will be sold to people.

Each of the tower has a physiotherapy room, a team meeting room, a massage room and a room for the team’s chef – so that the athletes don’t have to go anywhere far for anything. A polyclinic will also be in place in the village with doctors and paramedics that the Delhi government will handle.

There will also be a games lounge where the athletes can entertain themselves and unwind.

The dining area, where the athletes will be eating their meals, has a capacity for 2,000 people. There is also a casual dining area for lighter meals like snacks and this has a capacity for 350 people.

“Besides the residential zone, there will also be an international zone which will have handicraft stores, a post office, a bank, a phone shop and a media centre. We are in talks with some small and medium enterprises and cottage industries for the handicraft shops,” Thomson said.

The international zone will also have cultural events taking place regularly for the benefit of the athletes and the rest of the team members.

In the vicinity of the village are the training areas for the athletes – complete with a 400-metre athletic track, sauna and swimming pool.

“Since it’s a green Commonwealth Games, the tiles used in the residential zone and elsewhere are made of eco-friendly material. There is a sewage treatment plant set up by the Delhi Jal Board and proper waste management in place,” he said.

Keeping the security concerns in mind, there will also be baggage-screening tables put up at the entrances of the village.

“There will be a soft opening of the village on Sep 16 when various team officials will arrive and then the athletes will start arriving from Sep 23 onwards. The games are from October 3 to 14, but by the time the last person leaves, it will be October 18,” Thomson said.

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at [email protected])