Inauguration ceremonies of Sri Maha Lakshmi Temple of Atlanta
Abhishekam of Lord Maha Vishnu. (All Photos: Murali Krishna Kakula, Murali Kakula Photography)
Hundreds of Hindu devotees attended the momentous and ritual-studded grand five-day inauguration ceremonies from June 10-14, 2015, of the Sri Maha Lakshmi Temple of Atlanta at 1637 Peachtree Parkway, Cumming, Georgia.
Atlanta priest Sri Keshava Murthy, who is also the President of the Temple, and eleven priests from Tirupati and Vizaganagram, India and other states in the U.S. meticulously performed all the rituals and ceremonies with devotion and cheerfulness. The enjoyment of the celebrations was enhanced by the sweet strains of nadhaswaram by S. Kasim and S. Babu, vidwans and grandsons of Sheik Chinna Moulana, a legendary nadhaswaram player in the Carnatic tradition.
A huge tent (yagasala) was erected on the foreground of the temple. Under the tent, volunteers had made several homa kundas and artistic, colorful display of a blend of fresh fruits, flowers, and other pooja accessories.
The elaborate rituals and ceremonies included Bhoo Varaha Homam and Bhoomi puja, Vishwaksena Aaradhana, Shuddha Punyaha Vaachanam, Kumbaaaradhana, Agni pranayanam, Nithya homam, Ukthahomam, and Chathurvedha Paaraayanam. The priests performed Ksheeradhivasaam and Jaladhivaasam ritual, where moolamoorthies made of black stone and imported from Bangalore were placed in reclining positions and given ritual bathing with milk and later with sanctified waters. Devotees also participated, using brass kalash of milk/sacred water. This was followed by Rathna Nyaasam, YanthraSthapanam, Dhruv Bimba Sthapnam, and Astabandhanam. After Mahanaivedyam and MahaMangal Aaarthi, devotees were served Theertha Prasadam. The evening ceremonies included Shayanadhi Vaasam, Maha Shanthi Homam, MoorthyHomam, and entertainment through sangeetham and Nrutya pradharshanam.
Abhishekam of Lord Maha Vishnu.
Aided by cranes and scaffolding the deities were installed inside the temple on Friday night. The main inauguration took place on Saturday morning. After Vaasthu homam and paryagnikaranam, Maha Shanthi Abishekam was performed for all deities. This was followed by Yajmaana Sankalpam, MahaPoornahuthi, Yaathra Danam Prana Prathistaapana. After special alankaarams, the deities looked resplendent in their ornate fineries and colorful garlands. First archana was performed for all the deities. In the evening, after Padhmavati Sametha Sri Vaari Vishesha Maha Vaibava Kalyaana Mohothsavam and Praakara Utsavam Dholothsavam, the devotees participated in Maha Shyanothsavam (Laali bhajans), and Indraja Murthy delighted devotees with a scintillating Bharatanatyam dance.
Alankaram of Sri Maha Lakshmi.
On Sunday morning, Suprabhatham and Nithyaaradhana for all the deities was performed. This was followed with a Samoohika Ramaadevi Sahitha Sri Satyanarayana Pooja, in reverence to Lord Vishnu. The Temple looked awesome with the dazzling deities of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi; Lord Balaji, and Lord Hanumanji. Nava Grahas on a pedestal and Uthsav Murthis also wore a festive look. Many devotee couples and individuals participated in the Satyanarayana Pooja. They were all given the pooja samagri and the priests led them in performing the pooja. To help understand the Katha, Achyuth Murthy and Chandrika Vedanta (both high school students) recited it in English. After the pooja, all were given panchamrutam and prasada.
Sri Keshava Murthy and his wife Manjula Murthy honored all the priests who had helped in the inauguration ceremony. The priests Sri Krishna Mohan Karanam (Sugarland,TX), Sri Chandrasekar Sharma (San Ramon, CA), Pandit Sri Srikiran Narayanan (The Woodlands, TX), Sri Pavankumar Divi (Livermore, CA), Sri Sathya Narayananacharyulu narayanam (Memphis, TN), Sri Seshasai Rompicharla (PA), Sri Padmanabhachary Anantha (Livermore, CA), Sri Pavankumar Sribhashyam (Houston TX), Sri Mallikarjuna Avadhani Datta (Tirumala, Tirupati), Sri K.V.N. Krishna Prasad (Vizaganagram, AP), and Srinivasacharyulu Narayanan (Aurora, Chicago) were each presented a shawl and a plaque in appreciation of their untiring and commendable services. The nadhaswaram and drum players as well as the temple shilpis, Kannan and Sunder, were also honored. Finally Sri Ramesh Kanaan, and Sri Rajesh were also felicitated for their volunteering. Sri Keshava Murthy thanked Chennai Express, Udipi café, Amma Kitchen, Madras Saravana Bhavan, and Sri Krishna Vilas for kindly catering free and delicious food during the inauguration ceremonies.
Alankaram of Lord Maha Vishnu.
The priests then blessed all the sponsors, devotees, and visitors. The devotees were requested to support the new temple by regularly attending the temple to offer their prayers, participating in all the festivals, volunteering, and donations.
Sri Venkatraman and his wife Hemal Subbarao were also felicitated. Sri Venkatraman gave a brief history of the temple, saying that two years ago the premises was a school gym. Some of the Hindu community members were getting together for bhajans and other cultural events. In November 2014, Sri Keshava Murthy decided to renovate the premises and inaugurate a temple. The dream has been realized and he is hopeful and optimistic that with the support of the devotees the temple will continue to serve the community.
The celebrations concluded with a delicious lunch kindly catered by Udipi restaurant.
Sri Maha Lakshmi Temple building is leased from Ivy League Academy for seven years, with monthly payments. It is the tallest Sri Maha Lakshmi Temple in the U.S. and is expected to be a boon to the Hindu devotees and to enhance the multicultural image of Georgia. For more information please go to www.srimahalakshmitempleofatlanta.org
Website Bonus Feature
An article on S. Kasim and S. Babu, nadhaswaram vidwans and grandsons of the legendary nadhaswaram exponent Sheikh Chinna Moulana.
Nadaswaram Concert by S.Kasim & S.Babu - Part 1
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S.Kasim & S.Babu together present a Nadaswaram Concert at SaMaaGaMa, organised by eAmbalam - www.eambalam.com.
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