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Hindu Temple of Atlanta’s Navodaya precedes a 25th anniversary

By Mahadev Desai
February 2017
Hindu Temple of Atlanta’s Navodaya precedes a 25th anniversary

 

(Left) The President with past and present officials, trustees, and volunteers. (All Photo: Mahadev Desai)

Despite cold and rainy weather, more than 9,000 devotees and visitors from all over the Southeast thronged the Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) Riverdale, Georgia on Sunday, January 1, 2017 to celebrate a joyous and spiritually suffused Navodaya festival.

Deities in the Balaji and Siva Temples looked dazzling in their ornate fineries and colorful garlands. The dedicated priests cheerfully performed archanas throughout the day, blessing devotees who came to offer their prayers. Throughout the day, both temples echoed with soul-soothing prayers, chantings of shlokas, and devotional songs. Around 11 am Priest Sri Muralikrishna performed a pooja ceremony inside the auditorium, chanting shlokas and conferring his blessings for the New Year to the vendors.

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Priest Sri Muralikrishna with vendor Bhindi Jewellers. (Photo: Mahadev Desai)

As the day progressed more and more devotees arrived inside the two temples and after offering prayers, went around visiting and shopping at the HTA Gift Shop and booths inside the auditorium, which vendors sold Indian apparel, household appliances and gadgets, jewelry, beads, artwork, devotional music CDs and DVDs, and also offered IT services. At the SRIM Meditation Center's booth, the news was that a Hanuman Mandir is being constructed at the SRIM Center in Forsyth, GA, where an 18-foot Hanumanji Murthy carved in South India will be consecrated by Amma Karunamayi upon completion of the mandir's construction.

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Banquet hall volunteers. (Photo: Mahadev Desai)

Festivals and food go together! The varied menu of South Indian vegetarian splendors included spicy idli sambhar, masala dosas, tamarind or curd rice, upama, boondi ladoos, Mysore pak, and snacks lovingly prepared in the temple’s kitchen by kitchen staff under the supervision of Food Committee Chairperson Padma Koganti. The chief volunteer, Sairam Surapaneni, from a past food committee, helped the new chair in arrangement and cheerfully serving the food in the spacious banquet hall by the dynamic team of youth volunteers.

Children enjoyed many fun activities like face painting and balloon twisting. Parking lots were so full that shuttle service was provided to parking lots in nearby schools. Police, security staff, and volunteers managed the parking areas.

HTA’s new President Kusuma Kotte is no stranger to the Temple. Andhra Pradesh-born, she has been in metro Atlanta since 1991. She is an ardent and long-time devotee and has served in various official capacities in the Temple. She announced plans for 2017, including the 25th anniversary for the Lord Sri Venkateswara prathistapana in May 2017, a 10-day grand celebration that will conclude on Memorial Day weekend.

President Kusuma Kotte concluded, “My thanks to all the devotees who celebrated Navodaya 2017 with great enthusiasm, and joy and deep reverence. Some of the funds generated during the Navodaya celebration will be used for community services. My heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy, spiritually enriching and prosperous New Year to all.”

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HTA Officials:
Former President Sarweswara Naidu.
Past Pooja Committee Chairperson Aravind Goli.

Executive Committee:
New President Kusuma Kotte;
Vice President Sheela Lingam;
Secretary Subbiah Emani;
Jt. Sec. Aravind Goli;
Treasurer Ravi Kari;
Jt. Treasurer Sairam Surapaneni;
Past President P.B.Rao.

Committees:
Bylaws: Sujatha Reddy;
Community Services: Seshu Sarma;
Cultural Affairs: Jyothi Chinthalapudi;
Educaion: Raju Vanapalli;
Endowment Trust: Siva Nathan;
Food Committee: Padma Koganti;
Fund raising: Murali Krishna Gadde;
Internal Audit: Krishnakumar Srinivasan;
Maintenance: Ramakrishnan Srinivasan;
Nomination: K.V.Krishna Prasad;
Pooja Committee: Phani Tumalla;
Publications: Sudha Reddy;
Religious Committee: Phani Tummala;
Technology Committee: Rajitha Reddy;
Volunteer Committee: Team leader:Ravi Chander;
Youth activities: Shree Varshenee.

The incoming Executive Committee would like to welcome the entire Indian community to the temple not only on January 1st but throughout the year to participate in all the events and get Lord's blessings.



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