In 'hidden Jerusalem' of Aizawl, a sect builds 'Solomon's Temple'
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On a ridge that forms Aizawl's western boundary, a marble structure rises above the lush green surroundings. Under development for the past two decades, it is spread over 3,025 sq m, has four towers topped with a crown each and four pillars emblazoned with seven Stars of David.
A Christian religious sect calling itself The Holy Church is building here what it calls the 'Solomon's Temple' — a successor to the original Solomon's Temple of Jerusalem mentioned in the Old Testament, believed to have been built by the son of ancient Israel's warrior-king David and destroyed by successive invaders. On the site now stands the Muslim shrine of the Dome of the Rock.
The sect believes Mizoram is the Biblical "city in the East", "the hidden Jerusalem" where, according to prophecy, the resurrected Jesus Christ will dwell before establishing an "eternal kingdom" in present-day Jerusalem.
The Holy Church has also named the immediate vicinity of the Aizawl temple 'Kidron Valley' after the vast plains that lie adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel.
A senior state government official, Dr L B Sailo founded The Holy Church sect three decades ago. In 1989, he outlined his religious belief that Mizos are "God's chosen people" in a book titled The Mystery of Elects — drawing this conclusion from historical facts and writings in the Old Testament.
He argued that Mizos, who were mass converted to Christianity by Welsh missionaries in the last decade of the 19th century, were sought out by divinity itself for a purpose.
Two years after the book was published, Dr Sailo says, God appeared before him in a dream and directed him to build a place of worship, even outlining the architectural specifications, including the towers and the pillars, and that the square-shaped temple must have identical sides, each with an entry gate in the middle.