The Hindu Temple of Atlanta

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  • The Hindu Temple of Atlanta

    The Hindu Temple of Atlanta ,(a temple of the Hindu god Venkateswara), built in 1990,  located in the city of Riverdale near Atlanta, Georgia. The plan of a temple closely resembles the plan of a human body in which the Sanctum Sanctorum (garbha gudi) is the head and the outer gate is the lower limb. The spine (gopuram) on the outer gate is the foot of the Lord. Even if a visitor does not enter the temple, he can as well contemplate on the gopuram and derive the benefit of a darshan.

    Temple architecture developed in two streams, Saiva style and Vaishnava style. Silpa is the architecture and Agama is the mode of worship. Agamaof the Saivas is different from that of the Vaishnavas. The Vaishnava worship is again in two different styles, the Vaikasana and the Pancharatra. In the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, the mode of worship is in the Vaikasana style.

    The structure of the main gate is called Vimanam and may consist of two to sixteen stories. The surrounding wall of the temple is called a prakara. It may consist of seven layers of walls the seven prakaras of large temples. The main front gate with all its vimanas (stories) is a tapering structure like a spire. It is also called Gopuram, which literally means the city gate. A single temple can be as big and complete as a city. The treatises also deal with the defense of the surroundings, boundaries, and the village. They also deal with the measurements of the component parts of the temple, the appearance of the various icons, the weapons adoring the deity, jewelry, color of the paints used and other details of interior decoration. A person well versed in all the details of temple architecture is called a Sthapathi. He will be in over all charge of the construction of a temple.

    The temple in Atlanta is planned on the model of the Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirupathi in its features such as the sanctum sanctorum, the main hall, the spire and the boundaries. To the right of Lord Venkateswara is situated Sridevi an on the left is situated Sri Satyanarayana Swamy. Sri Durga is situated in a niche on the boundary wall. There are plans to provide a fag staff, Garuda, and a Balipitham (altar for sacrificial worship). There are separate shrines for Ganapathi, Anjaneya, and Navagrahas.

    The main Vimana of Lord Venkateswara is called “Ananda Vimanam” and has three srories. Sridevi and Andal and Sri Durga will be provided with vimanas of two stories each. The main entrance will have a Raja Gopuram consisting of five stories

    The Hindu Temple of Atlanta 1 The Hindu Temple of Atlanta 2

    In the late 1970s, a group of Hindu friends were lamenting the lack of a Hindu temple in Atlanta. Over the next ten years, they gathered supporters, land, and funds, to build one of the world’s largest Hindu temples, and the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Incorporated by the State of Georgia in 1984, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta moved to its current home in 1990.

    The architecture of Hindu temples is said to mirror the body: the sanctuary is the head and the lower limbs are the outer gate. The Atlanta Temple was built entirely by hand from Turkish limestone, Italian marble and Indian pink sandstone and after the original masonry was finished, sculptors from India came to engrave the facade by hand. The sculpting took nearly three years and was completed in 1996.
    Built in the South Indian style, the Atlanta Temple incorporates four shrines for Venkateswara, Sridevi, Bhudevi and Durga, as well as sanctuaries for each. The Temple occupies a 29 acre park and has and 19 domes and two 72 foot tall spires climbing into the sky. One spire is dedicated to Venkateswara and the other to Shiva.
    The temple is free to enter, and the temple and its members have said they do not mind having tourists there look around. The detail of the outside architecture is magnificent, but is even more detailed and ornate on the inside so one should be sure to go in. A vision of beautiful Hindu architecture in the middle of the American South.


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