Riverdale Temple rings in New Year with Navodaya festival
The Navodaya 2009 New Year festival at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta in Riverdale, Georgia, drew more than 6,000 devotees and visitors from all over the Southeast on Thursday, January 1.
Priests performed archanas throughout the day at both the Balaji and Siva temples, blessing visiting devotees. Just before noon, Sri Gopal Bhattar, the chief priest, performed a ceremony chanting shlokas and conferring blessings on the newly elected HTA President, Hyma Mikkilineni, and her committee.
Visitors also thronged the HTA Gift Shop and various booths selling sarees, household appliances and gadgets, jewelry, beads, artwork, devotional music CDs and DVDs. Service booths offering help with immigration matters, legal advice, travel bookings and auto insurance also did brisk business. Some prominent not-for-profit organizations had also set up booths to provide information about themselves and forthcoming events.
The temple kitchen kept up a steady supply of south Indian vegetarian delicacies under the supervision of Food Committee Chairperson, Dr.Sujatha Reddy. The food was served in the spacious Banquet Hall by volunteers including some Bhutanese refugees.
Usha Swamy, Anjali Kumar, Chetan and Chandan Hebbale and Amala Malladi kept children entertained, with activities like balloon popping, painting, quizzes and competitions.
Dr.Ravi Sarma, who just completed his two-year term as Temple President, congratulated and complimented the current president, Hyma Mikkilineni, and her team.
Dr. Sarma said, “During the last two years the temple made substantial progress. Momentous events like the consecration of Siva Temple, Siva Mahakumbhabhishekam and Balaji Pushkara Kumbhabhishekam were performed. This year, the proficient shilpis will complete the remaining architecture of the Siva Temple and start building a Yagashala which will enable 100 to 150 devotees perform homas and other religious rites. On the service side, last year, the HTA was able to give significant moral and material support to the families of Bhutanese refugees. The temple not only initiated but also led the relief operations and support structure for these unfortunate people. I am very confident and optimistic that that these humanitarian services will continue under the leadership of B.K.Mohan, Chairperson of Community services. The temple’s web site has also been redesigned under the guidance of Sri Jaishanker and I request all to check it out for upcoming events. My best wishes to everyone for the New Year.”
President Hymavati Mikkilineni, who thanked the sponsors of the event, the trustees, visiting devotees and volunteers, congratulated trustee Phani Thummala, temple manager Lakshminarasimhan and Ms. Kusuma Dronavalli on their efforts in co-ordinating the event.
-- Mahadev Desai
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