Thousands attend Hindu Temple of Atlanta’s Navodaya Celebrations
HTA President Dr. Jayasree Moparthy at the pooja in the
banquet hall. (Photo: Mahadev Desai)
Over eight thousand devotees and visitors from all over the Southeast thronged the Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) Riverdale on the sunny morning of Sunday, January 1st to celebrate a joyous and spiritually suffused Navodaya 2012 festival. All the deities in the Balaji and Siva Temples wore a dazzling look in their ornate fineries and colorful garlands.
Priests performed archanas throughout the day blessing all the devotees who came to offer their prayers. A ceremony inside the banquet hall in presence of HTA President Dr. Jayasree Moparthy, Vice President Narender Reddy, temple Office Manager Lakshmi Narasimhan, and other devotees, was performed by Chief Priest Sri Gopal Bhattar, chanting shlokas and conferring blessings for the New Year, and then another ceremony in the auditorium for the vendors while Jayasree Moparthy wished them a Happy New Year and good luck.As the day progressed more and more devotees arrived inside the two temples and after offering prayers, went around visiting and shopping at HTA gift shop and at booths selling sarees, household appliances and gadgets, jewelry, beads, artwork, and devotional music CDs and DVDs. Service booths were busy, offering IT services, travel bookings, health or auto insurance, math Tutoring, etc. Nonprofit organizations, e.g. The Art of Living Foundation and Gaudiya Vaishnava Organization, also offered information.
Siddheshvari Devi at the Hindu Temple, Riverdale.
(Photo: Ravi Ponangi) Didi Siddheshvari Devi Ji offered her prayers and conferred blessings to the devotees. She mingled with vendors, kitchen staff, and volunteers. Didi Ji is the disciple of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj and is the founder of Radha Madhav Society. She has a deep knowledge of Hindu scriptures and speaks with eloquence, clarity, and sincerity. Genial and compassionate, she travels extensively, spreading the wisdom of Hinduism through her discourses, satsangs, and retreats. Didi Ji wished all the devotees a Very Happy New Year and led chanting and singing of uplifting bhajans.
Festivals and food go together! The varied menu of South Indian vegetarian splendors like spicy idli sambhar, masala dosas, tamarind or curd rice, upama, boondi ladoos, Mysore pak, and snacks, lovingly prepared in the Temple’s kitchen and served in the spacious banquet hall by volunteers, was relished by all.
Children’s activities included Ravana balloon dart game, quiz on the epics and India, and mehendi. A clown did face painting to entertain the smaller kids. Activities were coordinated by Usha and Anjali Kumar assisted by volunteers Usha Swamy, Narayan Swamy, Kiran Iyer, Ashokkumar Ramamoorthy, Pushkara Chaganti, Ambika Pisharodi, and Veena Rajeevan. A cultural program under Syam Yellamraju was also well attended.
(Photo: Ashok Kumar)
President Dr. Jayasree Moparthy reported on improvements in the banquet hall and auditorium, the completed homasala project, a new elevator for the elderly and handicapped, and the mammoth ‘Sri Lalitha Koti Nama Parayanam’ celebrations. Dwajastambham installation for the Shiva Temple is planned this year. Continuing activities include celebrating major Hindu festivals, helping the community with disaster relief, helping the homeless, Sai Health Fairs, blood drives, yoga and meditation classes, Bal Vihar classes, and other worthy causes. She thanked Didi Ji for attending and the numerous volunteers and officers for their many contributions, and gave her “heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to all.”
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