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Devotees throng the Hindu Temple of Atlanta on New Year and Vaikunta Ekadasi

February 2023
Devotees throng the Hindu Temple of Atlanta on New Year and Vaikunta Ekadasi

On January 1, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta in Riverdale celebrated its signature event “Navodaya 2023.” It was followed by Vaikunta Ekadasi celebrations on January 2. About 15,000 devotees from across Georgia and nearby states thronged to Balaji and Shiva temples to receive the blessings of the divine for a prosperous and healthy 2023 and celebrate with day-long events on both days.

[Left] The new Executive committee and chairs of various committees assumed charge for 2023-24 in front of the presiding deities of the temple.

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 [Right] Maha Vishnu in resting pose on Vaikunta Ekadasi.

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 [Top] HTA past President Dr. Sarvesh Naidu releasing the temple calendar for 2023. 

The deities at the temple were decorated with fresh flowers and Archanas (rituals) were performed all day long. There were a lot of activities besides several vendors and stores that were set up. As the day progressed, more and more devotees arrived inside the two temples and after offering prayers, went around exchanging Happy New Year greetings, visiting and shopping at HTA Gift Shop and various booths inside the auditorium. Children were engaged and entertained by a clown. Face-painting, balloon-twisting, and popcorn also added to children’s fun activities. 

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As Indian festivals and food go together, the menu offered South Indian vegetarian splendors like spicy idli sambhar, masala dosa, tamarind or curd rice, Upma, boondi laddoos, Mysore pak, samosas, Mysore bonda, and other savories lovingly prepared in the Temple’s kitchen by staff and scores of volunteers and served in the spacious banquet hall.

Dr. Manga Raju Vanapally, Founder Trustee and past President of the Temple, installed the new executive committee for calendar years 2023 and 2024. A long-time volunteer Aravind Goli is the new President of the Temple. Along with him, other office bearers and committee chairs also assumed office on January 1.

Dr. Sarvesh Naidu, past President of the Temple, released the Panchangam (calendar) for 2023 which has been especially prepared for Atlanta sunrise and sunset timings.

Devotees thronged the Balaji Temple on January 2 to celebrate Vaikunta Ekadasi festival considered the once-in-a-year “power time” of Lord Vishnu. They patiently waited to have Balaji’s darshan through Vaikunta Dwaram which was erected specially for the occasion. Continuous chanting of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Parayana, Archanas, and Bhagavadgita Parayana by the students of Mysore Datta Peetham were highlights of this auspicious day.

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Prashanti Asireddy, the outgoing President of the Temple, briefed about the accomplishments of the Hindu Temple of Atlanta. She said that she was very blessed and honored to be the President for the years 2022 and 23. While the pandemic had seen a drop in funds from devotees, now the devotees are coming in again and the Temple is financially sound. She thanked devotees, trustees, volunteers, priests, staff, the EC members, and requested for continued support.

The incoming President, Aravind Goli, said it was a great opportunity provided to him by the trustees to serve the Temple as the President for the years 2023 and 2024. He included the incoming Executive Committee in his welcome to the community. He said the Temple is at the forefront of improving Indian culture, traditions, practices, and inculcating interest in the Hindu religion in Indian children who are born and brought up here.

- Ravi Ponangi


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