5-day festivities at Hindu Temple celebrate opening rites of Siva Temple
The Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) organized a momentous five day joyous and ritual studded Maha Kumbhabhishekam ceremony of the Siva Temple from March 19th to March 23rd. Divine Mother Sri Karunamayi, (Amma), who is no stranger to Atlanta, graced the celebrations and actively participated in the festivities. Thousands of devotees and visitors from all over the Southeast thronged the temple to offer their prayers, enjoy the rich spectacle and relish the delicious maha-prasadam.
A huge Yagasala (canopy) was erected in front of the temple under which attractive and artfully decorated homa-kundas (havan) were constructed where HTA’s resident priests, along with vedic pundits from all over the US, chanted vedic shlokas, in front of the consecrated fires. The ceremony was presided over by Sri. Phani Kumar of Atlanta, along with several other priests from temples from Memphis to as far as Boston and California.
Some of the highlights among the ceremonies were Mahasankalpam , Khumbha Alankaram Kalakarshana , Sri Chakra Aradhana, Sahasra Kalasa Sthapana, Sahasra Kalasa Puja and Kumbhabhishekam. The main ceremony, namely the Vimana Raja Gopura Kumbhabhishekam was performed at an auspicious time in the presence of Sri Karunamayi Amma. In Amma’s words, “Kumbhabhishekham symbolizes the higher goals and spiritual aspirations of human society. A temple thus sanctified and maintained provides the shakti (power, energy).” The grand finale was Siva Parvathi Rathotsavam, where hundreds of devotees joined in vedic chanting, singing and dancing to the sweet sounds of nadaswaram (wind instrument) and rhythmic thavil (drum) beats.
Joint secretary of the HTA, Narender Reddy, read the Proclamation by Hon. Purdue and the messages of good wishes from U.S. Senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss. The President of HTA, Ravi Sarma, offered special thanks to the temple architect, Padmasri Muthiah Sthapathi, who has supervised the construction of 26 Hindu temples in the US alone.
Amma delivered two discourses. “Spiritual practices like selfless seva and meditation grant us the highest purity in life and a connection,” was Amma’s message to the devotees.
Dr. Sarma with members of the executive committee, Dr. Hyma Mikkilineni and Dr. Jaysree Moparthi, presented Amma with a special edition replica of the painting of HTA by Atlanta artist Sivananda Nyayapati.
Syam Yellamraju, presented a mega musical drama, ‘Hara Vilasam,’ (The Glory of Lord Shiva), to a packed house. Yellamraju, who conceived and produced the spellbinding musical drama based on the stories of Lord Siva, directed a cast of 32 on-stage artists, 20 production artists, captivating music, colorful costumes, and striking stage effects.
Throughout the five day celebrations, many artists offered renditions both in the form of song and dance to Lord Siva. Tamil Devaaram by vocalist Rajan Narayanan of Boston, accompanied on mridangam by Amit Narayan from Atlanta was worthy of a special mention.
Dr. Sarma said, “The celebrations were a big success. I am very grateful to the trustees, devotees, temple staff, silpis (sculptors) and volunteers. All the priests deserve to be commended for conducting all the poojas with dignity and utmost patience.” HTA’s new cook, Sri Rama Krishna and his assistants, were appreciated for their efforts in providing prasadam.
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