Place Category: Hindu Temples
Hindu Temple Of Greater Wichita
The Hindu Temple of Greater Wichita is a peaceful oasis of Sanatana Dharma. It is difficult to name all of the individuals who played a part in its creation. It was a true community effort in the broadest sense. The main temple deity is Sri Lord Venkateshwara (Lord Balaji) with consorts Goddess Mahalakshmi and Goddess Bhumidevi. However, most of the main deities in the Hindu pantheon are represented including Lord Siva, Goddess Durga, Lord Krishna and Radha, Lord Rama Parivar, Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga, and Lord Mahavir.
The Hindu Temple of Greater Wichita opened following a grand Inauguration program on June 14, 15, and 16. 2002. It was the culmination of many months of planning, community discussions, and fundraising efforts. There were seven Hindu priests and one Jain priest that performed all of the required Vedic rituals to install the murthis. The group included two Wichita State University students, Krishnan Krishnaiyer and Pradeep Nagaraja, who were instrumental in continuing the daily pujas until our priest, Srimaan U Ve Sriraman Kadambi, arrived in July 2002. In addtion to the pujas, there were also cultural programs everyday. Food was prepared by ladies in the community and provided free of charge to all of the attendees.
Mayor Bob Knight and Police Chief Norman Williams were also in attendance. Mayor Knight declared June 16th HTGW Day! The Inauguration Ceremonies were very grand and well planned! It was an auspicious beginning for the first Hindu temple in Wichta.
We began celebrating all of the festivals from throughout India including Pongal, Thai Poosam, Mahasivarathri, Ugadi, Ram Navami, Mahavir Jayanthi, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chathurthi, Navrathri, Diwali, and Tulsi Vivah. Although we have a relatively small Indian community, we are united together at the temple. We celebrated festivals from all parts of India.
During our first anniversary, we installed the last two remaining deities: Ram Parivar and Goddess Bhumidevi. The temple was now complete with its main murthis. Our second anniversary included the installation of our utsava murthis and an enlightening discourse by Sampath Bhoopalam on ‘What is Hinduism?’. We learned about the origins of Sanatana Dharma as well as related topics such as the caste system, vegetarianism, etc.
It was also during our second year that we started Anand Bazaar at the temple. Anand Bazaar is an opportunity to sample foods from all over India. Participants have stalls offering goodies such as Pav Bhajji, Pani Puri, Masala Dosas, and Samosas. It’s become one of the most popular functions at the temple!
Our third anniversary included two celebrations – one in June 2005 with an abishekam of our main temple diety, Lord Balaji. The second was a Maha Satyanarayan Puja with about 60 sponsors in August. Special silver murthis were used in the puja with a grand dinner afterwards. During our third year, we also started Bal Vihar, our program for children to learn about Sanatana Dharma and our culture. We also held our first Annakut at the temple. Annakut is a festival celebrated the day after Diwali. It literally means “mountain of food”. We offer over 100 dishes as naivedyam. It is a truly spectacular event and a hallmark of our temple.
Our fourth anniversary also had two celebrations: in June 2006, we were visited by Swami Viditatmananda of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. He spent three days with us offering us knowledge and insights into Sanatana Dharma. His practical and easy to understand approach was well received and much appreciated. In July we had a Vishnu Sahasranamam Homam. Our priest has been chanting the Vishnu Sahasranamam daily in our temple. By July, he had chanted it over 1000 times in our temple! To mark the occasion, we had a grand three day celebration which concluded with Lord Balaji’s abishekam, children’s cultural program and sari auction.
We have just completed our fifth year with another grand celebration in August 2007. To mark this special anniversary, we held a Homam with five homakundas! We also had a lecture on Hinduism from our priest’s brother, Pandit Srinath Kadambi. The final day was marked with abishekam of Lord Balaji and Poolangi Seva. Lord Balaji was fully decorated with flowers. The three day program was a wonderful success!
This is a very concise history of our temple and festivals thus far. Our temple would not be successful without the dedicated service of our priest and community volunteers. We are truly blessed to have a wonderful temple in Wichita.