Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Foreign Countries -4

Holy Pilgrimage  - Hindu temples in Foreign Countries


Temple of Shiva and Shakti in Moscow, Russia


Russian Arunachaleshvara Mandir is located in the 1.5 hour drive from Moscow, metro Kurtizanskaya. This is a wonderful power place , where you can get Mahadeva's darshan in the form of fire. It hosts ritual worship of Shiva and Shakti in the tradition of Siddhars. Fire is a manifestation of cosmic energy (Shakti) on Earth. Shakti is the power of the Lord, or cosmic energy. Shakti is the energy aspect of Ishvara or God. Shakti is contained in the Lord. Just as you can not separate the heat from the fire, so you can not separate the Shakti from God, the owner of Shakti. During the havan special offerings (ghee, rice, flowers, fruits ...) are offered to fire with the ancient mantras, and material energy is transformed into refined spiritual one. Fire ceremony harmonizes space, balances the atmosphere and biomagnetic fields. Worshipping Fire, we learn to concentrate on the Divine in the form of Light.

Yajna, yagya (Skt. yajna) - Hindu Sacrifice Rite , which took its origin in the religious practices of Vedic religion. Yajna is usually committed to meet the Devas or the execution of certain wishes (Kamya rituals). The most important element yajnas is the sacrificial fire (the divine Agni), which offered various offerings, which, like all the proposed Agni, go to the Devas.



May the Sun rise in your life - a symbol of self-knowledge, perfect understanding of how I am Atman, the supreme reality, the Atman hidden in the external manifestations of the ego, consciousness, feelings, self-consciousness. Shining sun behind the head of Shiva shows that he lives in complete and permanent understanding of higher reality as him self.
"Love, like wisdom, is not to be found. It is not around us, it is within us. If you created a space for love in your heart - it is sure to come"
There is one Supreme God, called by different names: God, Allah, Krishna, Shiva, Odin, Mother, God, Jehovah, Brahman, idea, Higher Mind, Higher Reality, etc. - All names the same. Parameshvara (the Highest Lord) is one and there is no other. Perceive this supreme reality & seek not for anything else. Tantra defines the Absolute as the unity of the Lord and His energy (i.e., Brahman = Shiva+Shakti, Purusha and Prakriti).
"The Lord our God is one Supreme Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with thy entire mind, and with all thy strength, Amen!" - This is the first commandment!
Higher One is indivisible, has no form, no sound, no definition, but at the same time has the form, the manifestation of sound and may have different names and definitions. Supreme Reality is at the same time devoid of all qualities (Nirguna) and with qualities (Saguna), devoid of any form (nirakara) and with forms (Sakar). His Higher aspects are infinite and limitless. It was variously praised in the Scriptures. Mundaka Upanishad says: "He is not grasped by idea and can not be seen by race and color. It has neither arms nor legs. It is immortal, omnipresent, and limitless in the great and in the small. He is the eternal, whom wise perceive in their sight, as a source of all beings. (1,1.6-7)
"He is invisible, limitless, and eternal, devoid of all qualities; He is an inexhaustible source of all. (1,1.6-7)
So the Kena Upanishad states: "The eye, words or mind do not penetrate there. We do not know, we can not comprehend how he can be described: He is above comprehension and incomprehensible. So we have heard from the ancient sages (rishis) explained to us this truth. "
In various scriptures many similar words, glorify the One, the Eternal, devoid of any duality (ekamevadvitiyam) or Nirguna Brahman (Absolute, devoid of all qualities), self-existent, which has no form or qualities of the Supreme Highest Lord. Kularnava Tantra contains the following slokas: "There is the Supreme Absolute - indivisible, good (Shiva), all-pervading. The Creator of the universe, Lord of the whole world, pure and simple, devoid of duality (advaita), shining by his own light (svaprakashah), with no end nor beginning, eternal, limitless, devoid of qualities (Nirguna), full of eternity - knowledge - bliss, whose parts are all living creatures.
Saivism proclaims: God Siva is Love, both immanent and transcendent, both the creator and the creation. This world is the arena of our evolution, which leads by stages to moksha, liberation from birth and death. Aum.
In our temple of Universal Love, you can find tantric rituals, runic and white magic, mantras, books about various aspects of philosophy, religion, yoga, Vedanta, and the esoteric teachings of ancient medicine, translations of ancient texts, and much more. We hope that these materials will help both neophytes and those who have long been moving towards self-realization

To god Agni, source of fire, who gives Ojas to body and mind:
Aum Mahajwalaye Vidmahe Agnidevaye Dhimahi Tanno Agnih Prachodayat
"Om. Let us meditate on the great God of fire in the form of blazing flames. May that radiant Agni Deva inspire and illumine our mind and understanding"
Omagnim ile purohitam yajnasya devam ritvijam Hotaru ratna dhatamam
I call upon Agni, chief Deity, the god of the offerings and the chief priest, bearing the greatest treasures.
May Anugraha-Shakti (Power of Love, Mercy and the saving revelations of the Lord Shiva), Ganesh blessings, Mother Shakti, Skanda-Babaji and the Siddhas be shed on you!
What Is the Nature of the Siva Temple ?

The Siva temple is the abode of God Siva and Gods and the precinct in which the three worlds consciously commune. It is specially sanctified, possessing a ray of spiritual energy connecting it to the celestial worlds. Aum.

The three pillars of Saivism are the temples, the scriptures and the satgurus. These we revere, for they sustain and preserve the ancient wisdom. Siva temples, whether they are small village sanctuaries or towering citadels, are esteemed as God's home and consecrated abode. In the Siva temple we draw close to God Siva and find a refuge from the world. His grace, permeating everywhere, is most easily known within the precincts of the Siva temple. It is in the purified milieu of the temple that the three worlds commune most perfectly, that devotees can establish harmony with inner-plane spiritual beings. When the spiritual energy, Shakti, invoked by the puja permeates the sanctum sanctorum and floods out to the world, Saivites know they are in a most holy place where God and the Gods commune with them. Within most Siva temples are private rooms, sanctums, for Lord Ganesh and Lord Karttikeya, and shrines for the many Gods and saints. The Vedas explain, "Even as the radiance of the sun enlightens all regions, above, below, and slantwise, so that only God, glorious and worthy of worship, rules over all His creation." Aum Namah Sivaya.
How Are Temples Founded and Built?
Siva temples are founded by God Himself, often designated in a vision or dream of a devout Saivite, and then erected by temple craftsmen usually following Agamic law. In such a holy place, holiness itself can reside. Aum.
Because of its holiness, a Siva temple is most often and properly established by God Siva through His devotees and not founded by men. Once the site is known, hereditary temple architects, known as sthapatis, are commissioned to design and construct the temple. By tradition, every stone is set in place according to the sacred architecture found in the Agamic scriptures. When properly consecrated, the temple becomes a place upon the Earth in which the three worlds can communicate for the upliftment of mankind and the fulfillment of Siva's dharmic law. Siva has deliberately established many temples to communicate His love to His children throughout the world, who live in every country of the world and long for their Lord's ever-present love. They build temples in His name and install His image, chant His praises and thus invoke His presence. Lord Siva accepts all these temples as His own and sends a divine ray to vivify and vitalize them. Siva's Vedas annunciate, "Brahman is the priest, Brahman the sacrifice; by Brahman the posts are erected. From Brahman the officiating priest was born; in Brahman is concealed the oblation." Aum Namah Sivaya.
When Should One Attend the Temple ?
We attend the temple to commune with God Siva, Karttikeya or Ganesha at least once each week and additionally on auspicious days of the month, yearly festival days and on the holiest day of the year, Mahashivaratri. Aum.
At the heart of every Hindu temple is a cave-like sanctum sanctorum within which God abides, as He abides in the cranial cave of every soul. A devotee approaches a Sivalinga, hands outstretched imploringly as he seeks Siva's blessings during puja.
Saivites consider it most important to live near a Siva temple, and we build one wherever we find ourselves in the world. This is a most meritorious act, earning blessings in this life and the next. Religious life centers around the temple. It is here, in God's home, that we nurture our relationship with the Divine. Not wanting to stay away too long, we visit the temple weekly, though women never go during their monthly period. We strive to attend each major festival, when the Shakti of the Deity is most powerful, and pilgrimage to a far-off temple annually. Devout Siva bhaktas attend daily puja in the temple. All Saivites visit the temple on Siva's most sacred day of the year, Mahashivaratri. Saivite temples are the most ancient of all. Being the homes of the Gods and God, they are approached with great reverence and humility. Draw near the temple as you would approach a king, a governor, a president of a great realm, anticipating with a little trepidation your audience with him. The Vedas say, "May the Lord find pleasure in our song of praise! Priest among men, may he offer due homage to the heavenly beings! Great, O Lord, is your renown." Aum Namah Sivaya.
Aum Namah Shivaya.
From the book: Sadguru Shivayya Subramuniyasvami. Dancing with Shiva. Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism
Verses from Scripture on Siva Temples
You who are worthy of men's prayers, our leader, our God, rich in heroes -- may we install you glowing and glistening! Shine forth at night and at morn! Your favor has kindled our hearths! By your favor we shall be great!
Rig Veda 7.15.7-8. VE, 846
Of lords the Lord Supreme, of kings the King, of Gods the God, Him let us worship -- transcendent, Lord of all worlds and wholly worthy of worship.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.7. VE, 156
A man comes to Thee in fearful wonder and says: "Thou art God who never was born. Let thy face, Rudra, shine upon me, and let thy love be my eternal protection."
Krishna Yajur Veda, Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.21. UPM, 93
For the purpose of protection of all, a Linga is variously caused to be built in villages by Gods, by seers and by ordinary men.
Karana Agama 10. MT, 66
Cutting all the stones to be cut, carving all the stones to be carved, boring all the stones to be bored, such are the three aspects of the shilpi's art. The architect and the sutragrahin build the temples and craft the images, but it is with the takshaka that the architect effects the opening of the eyes of these images, and similar rites.
Suprabheda Agama 21.28-29. SA, 180
Having worshiped Nandi in the Southeast -- two-eyed, two-armed, black in color, having the formidable three-pointed trident of Siva, with a crest and twisted locks of hair -- in the Southwest, he should especially worship Mahakala, black in color, two-eyed, two-armed, with white garment, two-legged, having an awesome form, equipped with a noose and a tusk, and endowed with all ornaments.
Karana Agama 323-325. MT, 200
He should repeat the Siva mantra according to his ability, and (there should be) circumambulation, obeisance and surrender of the self.
Karana Agama 446. BO MT, 226
I bow before that Sadashivalinga which is worshiped by the multitude of Gods with genuine thoughts, full of faith and devotion, and whose splendor is like that of a million suns.
Lingashtakam. SW, 8
The Pati is the blessed Sivalinga. The pashu is the mighty bull standing in front. The pasha is the altar. Thus, in the temple, the Lord stands for those who, searching, see.
Tirumantiram 2411. TM
When in Siva's temple worship ceases, harm befalls the ruler, scanty are the rains, theft and robbery abound in the land. Thus did my holy Nandinatha declare.
Tirumantiram 518. TM
The unholy town where no temple stands, the town where men do not wear the holy ash, the town which does not resound with sacred song, the town which is not resplendent with many shrines, the town where the white conch is not reverently blown, the town where festive canopies and white flags are not seen, the town where devotees do not gather flowers for the worship rite, that town is no town. It is a mere wilderness.
Tirumurai 6.309.5. PS, 149
He approached and entered the temple where the Lord who has the golden mountain for His bow dwells in delight. He circumambulated it, prostrated himself at the sacred courtyard, entered the presence of the three-eyed God, the bull-rider crowned with matted, red hair.
Periyapuranam 5.21.252. PS, 49
Gather flowers and carry water pure; bathe Him and lay the flowers at His radiant Feet; stand and pray and adore Him in unfailing piety. Forever prosperous you shall be. Subdue the senses, hasten towards Him; surrender in totality and worship the Lord daily, offering water and flowers. He will surely accept your heart's offering.
Tirumantiram 1840-1841. TM
For the bounteous Lord, this heart is the sanctum holy, the fleshy body is temple vast, the mouth is the tower gate. To them that discern, jiva is Sivalinga; the deceptive senses are but lights that illume.
Tirumantiram 1823. TM
I saw the Feet of the Lord, deckt in odorous Konrai blooms,
I saw the Feet of the Lord, dark-dressed in elephant-skin,
I saw the Feet of the Lord, on lotus-blossom enthroned,
I saw the Feet of the Lord, my heart-core's love within.

My God, Who melted by love my heart, let all adore;
My God, the Lord of primal Love, First of Beings ever,
My God, who again and again melts my heart, Nandi Lord,
May He render me His Love in foremost measure!

Inside Love is He; in outer Nature is He; as body also is He;
The past and future is He; the Lord of Rishis is He;
The Precious One, who inside Love resides,
Only those, who in Love reside, find in Him the Refuge free.

The Russian Arunachaleshvara Mandir in 1.5 hour drive from Moscow, performs the ancient fire rituals - yajnas to implement specific desires, acquire divine protection, support in work and business, wealth, prosperity, find a good family and children, improve health and eliminate enemies and obstacles. A fire offering to Lord is the ancient Vedic tradition.
Fire is a manifestation of cosmic energy (Shakti) on Earth. During the Havan, or Yajna fire are special offerings (ghee, rice, flowers, fruits ...) with the repetition of special mantras, and dense material energy is transformed into a refined spiritual. Fire ceremony harmonize space, lead to the balance of the atmosphere and electromagnetic fields.
Worshipping the fire, we learn to concentrate on the divine in the form of Light. At Shakti dhuni we serve the fire as a form of Divine Mother, Shakti. Thus, the fire represents the Divine, and dhuni - the temple.
This is the main Shiva jyotir lingam (lingam of light) in Russia , similar to the temple in Arunachaleshvara Tiruvannamalai , India . Pilgrimage to the Russian Arunachaleshvara Mandir can initiate positive changes deep in your soul and karma. To Sincere sadhakas Shiva lingam manifests as fire of knowledge and wisdom.

To visit Shiva temple in Moscow pls go to our community Shiva Yoga Siddha Russi Sangam and write a petition.
If you have come to believe that you should make pilgrimage to our temple, please :
1) name the reason for visit
2) attach your photos, links to blogs, websites, etc.
3) the more information the better
4) visit our community Siddha Shiva Yoga Russi Sangam, itis the fastest way to contact us.

If you get a permission to come, you will be given all necessary information.

Other Temples in Russi

  • Sri Jagannath Mandir (ISKCON), Selskohozyaistvennaya 36 building 1, Moscow
  • Resht, Caspian shore (ancient temple)
  • Shiva temple in Moscow.

South Africa

  Shree Ayyappaa Kshetram, South Africa

 Temples are treasures, everlasting monuments and abodes of Gods, the enshrined divinity, which cross eternity both for the architectural value and endless splendour radiating a holy, divine spirit.  It takes man and not a creed to build a temple as the cult of bhakthi makes man civilized, orderly and peaceful. The house of God is a work of art as it is artists and not mere labourers, artisans or technicians, who built it. It’s  aesthetic appeal, apart from its divine dimensions, is a potent source of its attraction. A  Hindu Temple is a living monument of the sublime combination and synthesis of the best in Indian tradition, art, architecture, religion, epic, philosophy, the highest call of the Vedas and the Vedanta. This unique structure inspires at once various people with different aspirations such that each one obtains and   attains   what he seeks from   it.  It is a standing  mystic  symbol  for  that Infinite  Creative  Principle  or  Universal  Essence, we call God whose play is this finite, manifest world. As one contemplates on the structures of a temple, one gets lost in the beauty of its architecture, sublime symbolism and profound messages it conveys in mute language.

A   hindu   temple is   a   living   image   or   symbol of the Infinite Creative principle and not just a building.  The temple   having   a   form   symbolizes the human aspiration and is a constant reminder to the devotee (Saadhak) , the real purpose of his life and the goal to be achieved, which is the eternal search for truth, which is formless and inexplicable . This is represented by the main movement or expansion of a temple in the vertical direction towards God, the highest   Supreme Principle.  This highest aspiration is conveyed so beautifully and artistically by the vertical movement of the temple up-rising superstructure’s   architecture called the Gohpuram.

Every temple is built on a ritual diagram known as Vaasthupurushaa Mandala which is in the form of a square, which forms the base of the temple.  A square symbolizes time and space, pervasive in all directions equally and is called Prithvi Mandala.  Man is also enclosed in a square, He is as high as he is broad, ie. If he stretches his hands horizontally, he would meet the four sides of the square by his terminal points of the feet, both outstretched hands and the head.

Vaasthu is the site and Purushaa is the unmanifest universal essence and Mandala is the ritualistic and diagrammatic form given to   the   Purushaa in His manifest aspect.  It is NOT a ground plan of a temple in the modern sense. It is a magic figure called Yantra, a geometrical continuance, which is drawn on level ground at the site of the temple. This “binds” the aspect of the Supreme Creative Principle or Universal Essence to the site for the purpose of worship. The physical temple building draws its power from the Vaasthupurusha bound to the site.

The word Vaasthu means Yajna/Yagna which is sacrifice. Therefor the temple synbolises the cosmic  Spirit or Purusha who sacrificed Himself to a phenomenal, material existence, the world,  which is the residue of this sacrifice or Yajna which is  itself  an eternal process.  The creative, protective and constructive destructive aspects of God is established in personalized forms as “several Gods or deities” in temples.  Temples are therefore   personalized   centres of the creative and energetic aspects of God which are maintained in a vibrant personalized state of spiritual power through temple worship. The Kumbhaabhishegam  and Praana prathistham is the process followed or  the spiritual technology used, which involves rites and rituals evolved by our ancients seers the seekers of truth, to conceive and install this spiritual power into the temple structures. The temple is verily the symbol of the objective universe that arises from God, the supreme reality.

Temple worship especially benefits those who are mostly occupied with day –to-day affairs of living and do not find time enough for meditation and intense spiritual pursuits. It is an effective means to come in contact with the harmony and powers of the spiritual dimensions within. Constant worship in temples is the technology our sages prescribed for making the temple vibrant with various aspects of spiritual power, which help to activate the latent  spiritual dimensions of the worshipper. When going to a temple , a person with even a little sensitivity would feel a pervading peace that makes him composed, gives  consolation and a refreshing strength. A worshipper standing in front of an idol prayerfully with folded hands can be seen closing his eyes and taking a dip into the spiritual Source within, which is the   very source of everything. Temple worship is a science that harmoniously blends faith, ritualistic disciplines and knowledge
Established on 21 Oct 1995 with the primary aim of promoting social and and religious activity.
Pretoria Bhajanai Mandram (PBM), a registered social and welfare organisation, is the custodian of the Swaami Ayyappan temple at Shree Ayyappaa Kshetram. The organisation was established on 21 October 1995 with the primary aim of promoting social and religious activity. The structures erected at Shree Ayyappaa Kshetram are intended solely for the benefit and use of the community.



History of Swaami Ayyappan worship in South Africa

South African Indians. in the apartheid South Africa, held on to their religious traditions, customs and ceremonies in order to keep their  children  in touch  with their rich religious and cultural history.
Swaami   Ayyappan   worship was brought to  South Africa by  a gentleman  from India called  “boiler  Ramsamy” to   New Clair in  Johannesburg   in 1950 .  Not much is known about Mr. Ramsamy except that he was a very devoted   Ayyappan   bhaktan. He brought a moorthie of Lord Ayyappan, similar to the one found at Acchan Kovil   ( Ayyappan with consorts Poornaa and Pushkalaa , representing the grihasthaa form).
This moorthie was housed in a “mandapam”/shrine in his yard in New Claire, Johannesburg.
Mr. Ramsmay performed his worship at home privately. When he died this moorthie was donated to the Germiston temple by his children.  In the Germiston temple Ayyanaar worship was performed   regularly, every year from about 1956 during the month of June.

The community of Pretoria went yearly to Germiston, in June, to participate in the worship and Mrs Ammakannu Kolapan regularly sent money to a temple in India performing the worship of Ayyannaar. The community of Laudium, Pretoria , began Ayyannaar  poojai in  1968( about 12  years after they started in Germiston and 18 years  after it was brought to South Africa by Mr “boiler” Ramsamy).  This became a very popular celebration in Pretoria and was   started by Mrs Ammaakannu Kolapan and Mr. “Rank” Marie Pillay who were members of the Laudium Tamil Association.
Three popular songs were written by them and sung by the grand children of Mrs Aammakannu Kolapan namely Mr. Gonie Chinsamy, Sagree Paul, Rajgopal Kolapan and Renugavathy Kolapan. The music was composed by Mr. Coopoosamy Paul,also a  grandson of Mrs. Ammakannu Kolapan. The three songs were 1) Shivanum thirumaalum padaitthu ayyanaareh 2) Unnai andreh theivam yeh nee and 3) Ullagellaam unartharullaal . For the first celebration in Laudium Dr.Rajgopal Kolapan, Jayaram”Karthie” Kolapen, , Arumugam “Taal” Krishnasamy( all 12 years) , Ranga Kolapen, Saantham Chinsamy, Gonie Chinsamy wore a piece of white clothe(“ vehshti”), around their waists and carried a  white horse around a  decorated tent, housing the alter for Ayyannaar, under a big tree where the present Shivan Aalayam stands.  .
After the film “Swaami Ayyappan” and Sri K. Veeramani’s recording of the famous “Palli kaddu” and “Bhagavaan saranam” was released the worship of Swaami Ayyappan at the festivals previously dedicated to Ayyannaar, began. Many South Africans undertook the journey to Sabarimala and of note was the very devoted Mr. Sidney Pillay, and family of Benoni(Mr. Raggie Pillay and Thirumani Rajespari Pillay) and Mr.Moggie Kolapen and Mrs. Neelavathy Kolapen from Laudium, Pretoria.    The popularity of the festival in Laudium became greater than that in Germiston, and it would be truthful to say that the Shivan Aalayam in Laudium generated the most amount of money for its construction through the name of Swaami Ayyappan and its Ayyappan festival “traditionally” celebrated in June.
In 1994 Dr. Rajgopal Kolapan fulfilled his life long dream of going on pilgrimage to Sabarimalai, in Kerala South India.  Together with a very close friend  and later ardent supporter of Pretoria Bhajanai Mandram, Mr.Vijay Jamnadas Khatri.   Dr. Raj Kolapan, was overwhelmed by the darshan of lord Ayyappaa and left with an inexplicable deep desire, never felt before, to build an Ayyappan temple.
Shree Ayyappaa Kshetram
Following the appointment of a full time priest, Guru M Sharma, various Hindu festivals and prayers are observed at the temple – Thai Poosam Kavady, Lakshmi Pooja, Saraswati Pooja, Ganesha Chathurthi, Shivarathri, Swaami Ayyappan Magara Villakku, Navarathri, Purathaasi, etc. In addition, the following services are offered at the temple:
• Weekly bhajan / service held on a Sunday (09h00 – 11h00)
• Navagraha prayer
• Wedding ceremonies
• House & car prayers

The site of a temple is a sacred place and a temple built proportionally is the residence and body of God, a source of solace, inspiration and hope. Some of the names used to denote a temple are, Kshetram, Sannidhi, Kohvil, Aalayam, Mandir, Devagraha, Devaagaara, Devaayatanam, Dehvaalaya, Dehvakulam, Dehvamanira, Dehvabhuvana, Dehvasthaanam, Veshman, Keethanam, Harmyam, Vihaara etc.Each name denotes a unique meaning. The word Dehvaalaya  for example is made up of two words, Dehva meaning divinity and Aalaya  which means annihilate, destroy or remove. So when the vicious qualities of lust, anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance, greed, etc are destroyed only the divine,Deva, remains. Kshetram on the other hand means the body or field within, where Karma is worked out or fulfilled.

Unlike other structures or places of worship(e.g. churches, synagogues, etc.) temples are built according to ancient books called Saastra. An example of one is the Aagamaas. Aagamaas can best be explained as ‘rules’ of construction that have great symbolism. A temple architect or stapathi from Kerala in India, Sri Kannipayoor Namboothiripath Krishnan, designed Sri Ayyapaa Kshetram,according to this Saastra,in1997 on the holy night of  Maha Shavaraathri.

The architecture of the Swaami Ayyappan temple is unique in its style as it has a traditional South Indian Gohpuram(entrance tower) and a typical Kerala styled main shrine, designed by Kaanipayoor Namboothiripath Krishnan from Kerala, South India. It has been described as Sethu, a bridge between Tamilnadu(where Ayyanaar worship in villages is popular) and Kerala(where Swaami Ayyappan worship is popular). In South Africa the worship of Ayyanaar and Ayyappan had a peculiar relationship and beginning.(see ‘History of Swaami Ayyappan worship in South Africa).

When entering Sri Ayyappaa Kshetram, within the temple perimeter, we first come into contact with the oval which has a radius of 41 metres. This circular oval represents the wheel of life, verily our world, in which we live and play and perform the 41 day  austerity for Lord Ayyappaa. From the oval one has a clear vision of the huge Gohpuram(Gohpura Dharishanam) which is at a higher level than the oval. This tells us that while we are in this world our minds should be fixed on the higher reality at all times and we should not forget the real reason for living which is self realization and God realization.

After the devotee removes his shoes and circumambulates the Navagraha, representing the universe, which is placed higher than the steps leading to the amphitheatre and 18 steps, and identifies himself with the universe, he descends the steps into the amphitheatre, which symbolizes the womb of spiritual creation. Here one is greeted by the beautiful sight of sculptured elephants. To the north of the 18 steps is a parent elephant carrying a garland to Lord Ayyappa’s 18 steps and her child is following behind. This symbolizes the effort that parents need to put into serving as role models to their children. This echoes the truth that children may do what you say but they definitely do what you do.
To the left, south of the 18 steps we have an elephant standing on the precursor of the lion family called Yaazhi, which pulled the chariots of the Asuras(demons) namely Soorapadman. This symbolizes the destruction of the vicious tendencies represented by  king of the jungle and the means of travel for the Asuras, the lion,  by the virtues tendencies represented by devoted, dedicated, loyal elephant,  which is the reason for human  birth.

This amphitheatre space represents the spiritual womb and after acknowledging the need to ascend the 18 steps of spirituality we bow in reverence at the holy 18 steps, the holy Padinettaam Padi which is unique to Ayyappan temples. The holy Padinettaam Padi(18 steps) lead to the flag post. Please note that this structure is built outside the 60 x 60m square called a mandala(see notes below) as it represents our worldly spiritual efforts(saadhana) and self effort purushaarthas(dharma, karma, artha and mohksha), which is the means to the gateway, the Gohpuram, to God. The first five steps symbolically represent our efforts to control the five senses (body). The next set of eight steps represents our attempts to get rid of the eight demonic qualities of lust, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, conceit and arrogance (mind). The next three steps represents our do-identification with the three states of nature called Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa (Intellect) , the last two steps represent our transcendence of worldly knowledge and ignorance of our true self(ego). In the holy verse ‘Arinthum ariyaamalum”  we recite  a line
“ padinettaam  padi mehl  vaazhum” which means that Lord Ayyappaa resides beyond the 18 steps, so in order to reach him we need to first climb the 18 steps of spiritual evolution and refinement  .

After we have developed spiritually we are ready   for   “re- birth”   through the canal leading to the bell tower where we come out   “crying” , symbolized by the ringing of the temple bell. This narrow pathway to the bell tower reflects the similarity of the true narrow birth   canal through which the unborn fetus has to pass in order to be born. Here we sound our entrance into the world of spirituality having taken a new birth by ringing the bell at the bell tower, just like a child being born cries out loud announcing its arrival into   the world of pain and pleasure, ready to work out its one life time allotted Karma called Prarabdhaa Karma. To the left of the bell tower is a place for lighting a piece of camphor which symbolizes the fact that only spiritual awakening leads to true enlightenment  and that this birth needs to be utilized, burnt up and sacrificed  like the camphor representing the body , for spiritual upliftment  through  spiritual enlightenment  effort. Next to this structure is the kundam  used  to burn the coconuts from the Irumudi offering after completing  the yearly  41 day vritham for Lord Ayyappan.  This symbolizes the burning of the body   of ignorance of the person carrying out the 41 day fast.  The destruction of the old personality gives way for the birth of the new refined person after the 41 day poojaa has been completed.
The placement of all temple structures which represent the human body, except for the Navagraha which represents the physical universe, must be within a square called a mandala.  The square symbolizes perfection, as all sides of the square are equal.  The 4 sides of the square also represent the 4 cardinal directions.  Therefore, the square symbolizes the divine, flawless reality that spreads out in all directions and pervades everything perfectly. This temple is built on a 60 by 60 meter square. The main temple structures are strategically housed within this perfect square called the Vaasthu Purushaa Mandala (wherein the cosmic energy is trapped and bound to the site rendering the area sacred and a source of immense divine energy called the vaasthu puprusha mandalam) .   This area is divided into 81 smaller squares and each structure is purposely and strategically   placed according to the laws of   Vaasthu Saastra,the science of harmonious living.
The temple represents the human body, and just as the parts of the body are in proportion,   so should the temple structures be built in proportion to each other. All this information is contained in Saastra (scriptural injunctions).

The sacred tower or   Gohpuram   at   the   entrance is said to be a great symbol of reality.  This tower depicts the activities of human beings both  divine and evil, sublime and absurd, the divine persons and the grace of the Lord towards them.  It is a division between chaos and confusion of the outside ,material world and the sublime and serene  divine temple surroundings, spiritual world, on the inside.  The sacred entrance within the Gohpuram serves as the passage to go in and out of the temple.  The Gohpuram represents the feet of the human body.  This is considered to be the most important of all the parts of the temple as it can be seen from a distance (Gohpura Darishanam) and we should offer our gratitude for turning towards divinity at the Gohpuram. To the left of the Gohpuram is 18 steps leading to the entrance representing spiritual endevour which elevates us to the entrance to the Gohpuram. To the right (north) there is a gradual sloped  entrance to the Gohpuram representing the grace of God  that leads to sudden spiritual conversion or enlightenment .  The Gohpuram is adorned with five kalasams(kalasas) at the top which represents the highest truth declared in our scriptures. It symbolizes the formless ultimate reality or universal or cosmic essence which has manifested itself in the five elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. (Through devoted worship of the idol in the sanctum, the devotee’s mind gets attuned to the ideal and gets uplifted to receive  the showering grace(represented by the water = amritam ) from the Kalasam.

After passing through the gohpuram we have  vision of the flag post. The sacred flag post or ‘dwajastambam’ is a symbol of victory of the higher self over the lower self.  This flag post also represents the 6 chakras (or spiritual  energy centers -  mooladhaaraa, swadishthaanaa, manipoorakaa, anaahathaa, visoodhi, ajnaa, ) in the body along which the  ‘kundalini shakthi’ or spiritual energy rises.  The balipeedam, in front of the flag post, is known as the altar of sacrifice as devotees renounce egoism when prostrating at this altar.  Here the ‘I’ and ‘mine’ wither away and the kindness of the Lord removes the pride in us and we rise up in humility and understanding of our finite, imperfect material existence.  Our prostration at the altar represents a sincere request to God to severe all our negative tendencies so that our ignorance could disappear, and that the realization that truth comes with the submission to the utmost sacrifice, as we stand up again and offer prayer.  The flag post, together with the balipeedam, represents the legs of the human body and lies along the horizontal axis in relation to the Main Deity in the Garbha Graha (Sanctum sanctorum).
The area, in which devotees sit, meditate and render beautiful, harmonious bhajans, is known as the arthamandapam.  This represents the stomach of the body.  Just as the stomach digests the various foods, so should we digest away the astha raagaas i.e. the 8 bad qualities of lust, greed, anger, hatred, conceit, arrogance, delusion and inability to see the good others do.  It is here that the varied experiences of life , both good and bad , is digested away through spiritual reflection , contemplation and enlightenment.
The area in which the main deity of the temple is housed, sanctum sanctorum, is known as the Strikovil or Garba Graha, the innermost and main shrine and this is placed higher than all the other structures of the temple as it represents the “supremacy” or importance given to the main deity over the other deities in the temple as well as that the God realization is along way higher than mere ritual and saadhana represented by the 18 steps. The Garbha Graha represents the heart of the body. It is in the heart of the individual that the Supreme is enshrined, similar to the embryo in the womb = garbhagraha.  The heart here is the innermost subtle part of an individual in which the consciousness or enlivening principle is found.
The roof above the Strikovil is known as the Vimaanam and represents the head of  man. The  Shikaraa, the tapered towered structure on the vimaanam represents the hair. This lies in a vertical axis in relation to the main deity in the Garbha Graha. The structures in a horizontal plane represent the physical endeavor or ritualistic worship that lead you to the Doors of the deity  (karma  and bhakthi yoga) and the structures in the  vertical plane represent the changes that take place in our mind, intellect and soul that lead us to self realization and  God Realization.

All other extended structures are secondary and subservient to the Main Shrine. Therefore they are placed at a lower level than the main deity and they form a garland of Shrines (Parivara mandapa) around the main deity or moorthy. Lord Ayyappaa faces his Mythological parents Lord Shiva (north eastern) and Lord Vishnu (south eastern). To Lord Ayyappa’s left is Mother Shakthi (Maaligaipurathamman) and to His right is Lord Hanuman/Anjeneya.  Lord Ganesha is in a  mandapam  situated in the south –western corner and Lord Muruga in the north- western corner behind the Main Ayyappaa Shrine, facing East.  The Navagraha is in the north eastern corner behind the Shiva Mandapam which faces west.  It is important to note that in the Ayyappan temples that do not have a Lord Murugan shrine the deity Naagaraajaa, a deity closely associated in Ayyappan worship, is found. Therefore in this temple Lord Murugan takes the place of Lord Naagaraajaa.
There are “5 enclosures” within which  a devotee does the circumambulation (Pradashinam) that surround the main shrine.  These are known as prakaaras and they symbolically represent the 5 sheaths or khosaas that surround or envelope the soul.  The first enclosure, anna maya khosam the food sheath is around the Gohpuram and shrines of Lord Muruga and Lord Ganesha.  The second enclosure, pranamaya khosam  – the vital air sheath surrounds the inner sides of  the Ganehsha  and Murugaa  shrines and the Gohpuram.  The third enclosure, manomaya khosam -  the mind sheath surrounds the parivara shrines that is the garland of shrines around lord Ayyppaa  , here the devotee individually circumambulates  each shrine.  The fourth enclosure, vignjaana maya khosam  – the intellect sheath, the devotee circumambulates the main temple  under the  veranda of the outer structure housing the Sri Kovil , and lastly, the fifth sheath, annanda maya khosam – the bliss sheath, the devotee circumambulates the garba graha or strikoiyil inside the main temple structure.  After this the devotee stands in his or hers true self ready to recognize that the individual self is identical to the supreme self, that is aatma is identical to Paramaathmaa, when he stands facing Lord Ayyappaa in the darkness of the main Shrine..
As a devotee enters a temple he steps onto a sacred place exposing himself to the divine vibrations of the Yantra or the Vaasthupurusha Mandala proper. When a devotee approaches a temple he is not really going into a temple but he is mentally “entering” into himself. As we enter the temple or a shrine, we verily enter ourselves.    Therefore , the attitude with which one moves into a temple is very important in deriving the maximum benefit . The symbolism of a Hindu  temple is directed towards the development of  the devotee so that he could realize the truth that the Purusha ( cosmic consciousness) resides and shines  in the devotees heart. This truth is reflected in the line “Devo Devaalaya Proktah,  Jeevo Devah Sanaatanaah”   which states that the body is the temple and the Jeeva or soul is the Truth Eternal . All the shrines are dark inside and the total darkness of the sanctum welcomes him and he is able to discern the symbol of God within the enveloping darkness and this allows him to behold the God within himself radiating beauty, grace and blessing. The darkness inside each shrine is representative of the ignorance of our hearts and minds.  Only when the camphor is lit are we able to see the deity in a shrine, and just as the camphor lights up the shrine, so does enlightenment   enable us to see the Lord within.   The camphor represents the knowledge or enlightenment we need to acquire in order to have vision of the Lord – this is true dharshan.  As the devotee beholds God, his eyes are closed and he perceives the truth within himself. In that silence which is both dark and quiet, words are transcended, the temple is forgotten and only the TRUTH REMAINS.
In Pretoria Bhajanai Mandram devotees are taught that true Darshan is having left the temple with the feeling that God has seen you.
All Temple structures symbolize great philosophical principles and this makes every part of the temple worthy of worship.

Mariamman Temple, Pretoria, South Africa

The Mariamman Temple was built in 1905 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Pretoria, South Africa, located in the suburb of Marabastad. The temple is dedicated to Mariamman, the goddess who followers of Hinduism believe controls smallpox and other infectious diseases.

Madhya Kailash Temple, South Africa

The Madhya Kailash Temple is a Hindu temple in Midrand, South Africa. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is the formless, timeless and spaceless Supreme God in Shaivism, one of the major branches of Hinduism. The resident priest of the temple is Guru Nadarajah Sarma. It was built recently due to the prominent increasing of the Hindu community in the area.
The temple serves many devotees in the province of Gauteng and all South Africans. The temple has been a true example of Auvayar's saying 'Thirai Kadal Odiyum, thiravyam thedu' and is serving hundred of thousands of devotees who follow our rituals and our ceremonies. The temple has been a complete powerhouse uniting all devotees under one roof. There are many prayers and cultural events that take place on a regular basis which is open to all public to take part in and get the blessings of the almighty. Guru Nadarajah has been a pioneer and has served South Africa for over 25 years. Coming from the most Orthodox and religious family, Guru Nadarajah provides religious guidance and performs all the prayers as per the Agama Sastras.

Bajan Services

Bhajan services are held on a weekly basis every Sunday morning from 10 AM to 11 AM. For other function details please refer to the calendar.

Tabla And Mridangam Lessons

Arts and culture has been portrayed by our ancestors as the quintessence of life and is vital for the development of the soul, hence Mridangam and Tabla lessons are conducted on a regular basis at the temple by Sri Kevin Pillay.


Tamil New Year
Sunday April 14 2013
Chithra Paruvam
Thursday April 25 2013
Vaigasi Visagam
Friday May 24 2013
Aani Uthiram
Sunday July 14 2013
Aadi Amaavaasai
Tuesday August 06 2013
Aadi Pooram
Friday August 09 2013
Varalaxmi Viratham
Friday August 16 2013
Krishna Jayanthi
Wednesday August 28 2013
Vinayakar Chathurthy
Monday September 09 2013
Mahlaya Patcham
Friday September 20 2013
Mahlaya Patcham
Friday October 04 2013
Navaraathri Begins
Saturday October 05 2013
Saraswathi Poojai
Sunday October 13 2013
Vijaya Dasami
Monday October 14 2013
Saturday November 02 2013
K.Gowri Viratham
Saturday November 02 2013
Skanda Sashti Viratham
Monday November 04 2013
Skanda Sashti Viratham
Friday November 08 2013
Kaarthigai Deepam
Sunday November 17 2013
Thiruvem Paavai Begins
Monday December 09 2013
Arudra Dharishanam
Wednesday December 18 2013
Hanuman Jeyanthi
Wednesday January 01 2014
Vaikunda Ekadasi
Saturday January 11 2014
Thai Pongal
Tuesday January 14 2014
Thai Poosam
Friday January 17 2014
Maasi Makam
Saturday February 15 2014
Maha Shivaraathri
Thursday February 27 2014
Shri Rama Navami
Tuesday April 08 2014
Panguni Utthiram
Sunday April 13 2014
Tamil New Year
Monday April 14 2014

Mount Edgecombe Ganesha Temple

The Mount Edgecombe Ganesha Temple is a provincial heritage site in Inanda in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
In 1977, it was described in the Government Gazette as
Heavily modulated perimeter wall. Entrance portal surmounted by SIKHALA tower. Cella on axis, square...This Hindu temple is the first building by the well-known architect and builder, Kristappa Reddy. The building was erected in 1899 and forms a unique part of South Africa's cultural and architectural heritage.

Narainsamy Temple, Durban, South Africa

In 1984 it was described in the Government Gazette as
The temple, which stands on a ridge north of the Umgeni river near Durban, has a prominent white spire visible from a great distance. The whole building is finished in white, in contrast to many others which are decorated in various colours. The stucco modelling and elaborate detail of the steeple and domes rise up from a classical and comparatively simple pedestal. Above the frieze are two more storeys of diminishing size, dominated by mandala motifs on the four sides and corners. Above the main entrance is a decorative feature made up of three arched panels which form a short parapet to the flat roof of the hall, and. it has two small stucco figures standing at either end. On the left hand side of the porch, which is south of the main hail, is a statue of a vole and on the right hand side of the porch is a statue of a peacock. In front of the porch, in direct line we find the Gavuda, Kodi and at the end the Ballyburum (naval), which is a small circular stone placed on a pedestal. At the northern end of the main hall (mandabulum), are three image cells of Narainsamy, Ganesta and Surbahmanya, attached. The openings have jamb linings but no doors. In the west wall is an opening leading into a large cell (nataraja). On the right hand side of the main entrance of the mandabulum, is a small raised platform, about eighteen inches high, for ablutions. The interior of the temple is also painted white, as the lime-washed exterior, and provides an atmosphere of austere simplicity. Across the entrances to the image cells, hangs strips of scarlet chillies and on the walls are highly coloured lithographs depicting the Hindu pantheon. The temple has many other interesting little architectural details and in the way the building has been set out and the way the decoration has been added, gives the temple a personality which is found only in freehand. The Narainsarny Temple, Newlands, was founded by Narainsamy in the year 1896 and it is now controlled by a family trust created by him. Most of the members of the congregation are drawn from the Tamil section of the Hindu community.

Shri Jagannath Puri Temple, South Africa

The Shri Jagannath Puri Temple is a provincial heritage site in Inanda in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
In 1979, it was described in the Government Gazette as
23m high tower (sikhara), single entrance capped by an octangenal squat shape and a dome...This richly ornamented temple was constructed by Pandit Shiskishan Maharaj, a Hindu priest who immigrated to South Africa in 1895. The temple, surrounded by a moat, was dedicated to the Hindu god Jagannath.

Other Temples in South Africa

  BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Lenasia
  BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Johannesburg
  Shivan Koil (Shiva Mandir), Lenasia, Johannesburg
  Hindu Temple Complex, Springfield Park, Durban
  Shree Siva Subramanium Alayam, Clairwood, Durban 4052 (120 years old)
  Shree Muruga Alayam, 152 Jacobs Road, Clairwood, Durban 4052
  Melrose Temple, Abbotsford, Johannesburg 2000
  Sri Siva Soobramaniar and Mariamman Temples, Pietermaritzburg
  Sri Muruga Kovil, Phoenix, Durban - 8m Murugan Statue, replica of Batu Malai Murugan
  Clairwood shree siva soobramoniar temple
  Sri Vishnu Temple Trust (Estb. 1928), 301 Havenside Drive, Chatsworth, Durban 4092

Sri Radha Shyamasundar Mandir, Seoul, South Korea

Sri Radha Shyamasundar Mandir is a Hindu temple located in central Seoul, South Korea. The temple opens each morning and evening at specific darshan times. Special programs are also held on Sundays, such as free children's balvikas classes (which includes Indian scriptures taught through videos, Hindi language, Indian music, etc.), yoga classes, a special Sunday feast program with Bhagavad Gita lectures.
The temple holds festivals like Diwali and Sri Krishna Janmastami, which have attracted more than 500 devotees. Ceremonies such as weddings, Namkaran naming ceremonies and Shnathi Puja are held in Vedic style by traditional Brahmins.[1] The temple also is a meeting point for Hindus from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as well as ISKCON devotees from various parts of the world.
The temple also provides vegetarian groceries, Puja items, Upawas and satwik foods (purely vegetarian, without garlic or onion) on special request for vegetarian devotees in suffering due to language difficulties and dietary restrictions.
Vedic Cultural Center (Sri Sri RadhaShyamSundar Mandir) Seoul, South Korea.
Vedic Cultural Center (Sri Sri RadhaShyamSundar Mandir) is Very important place in city. It serves as spiritual university and spiritual hospital and place for peace and tranquility. Introducing in Korea about an oldest Scripture Sanskrit, Vedic Knowledge and (Hindu) Sanatana Dharma. Modernization of lifestyle has resulted into stress; mental disorder, relationship problem, and temple serve as the hospital for these entire problem. Here our ever best friend lord Shri Krishna and Sri Radharani are always ready to extend that strong feeling of friendship to all without any expectation from anyone. People in general are confused with why bad things happening to good people, what is purpose of life, where can I find true happiness in life that can fulfill the innermost longing of life? Temple serve as the educational institute for all fundamental and most important problem of life from teachers who follows what they speak, sincere practitioner in temple. It is place of tranquility and peace mid of all chaos in the world, as the purest and tranquil, presence of lord and his name is always surcharging this place. It is place where you come and solve your spiritual problem and develop your unconditional devotion life, Celebrating all our festivals, Attend Mangal Arati and Sandhya Aarati, Sing Bhajan, Dancing , Group Japa Meditation, Srimad Bhagavatam and Srimad Bhagavat Geeta everyday class, spiritual discourse, Every Sunday Special program and eat divine Prasadam, meet your best friend and ever well-wisher and get surcharged with positive energy to face life as Lord Krishna is source of all enjoyment and positivity that exist. On 2008 some sincere devotees of Lord Krishna inspired by teaching of great spiritual revolutionary His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedant Swami Srila Prabhupad, who spread this gift of ancient Sanatana (Hindu) Dharma to whole world and it is right within your access at your city close to you, please take advantage of it. There is no cost to it, only cost is your sincere desire to come here and associate with your best friend, ever well-wishers, source of happiness, joy and positivity Lord Sri Krishna.

Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple, South Korea

Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple is the most important Hindu temple in South Korea. It belongs to the Vaishnavite ISKCON movement.

Other Temples in South Korea
  • Sri Lakshmi Narayanan Temple - Seoul
  • Himalayan Meditation and Yoga Sadhana Mandir
  •   (A Path To India) - the biggest Mandir in South Korea
  • Havenside Kali and Durga Temple society



Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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