Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA -74

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA  

Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama, Harvest, AL

Sarvajana Temple - A Temple for All People

HCCNA, 14840 Smith Drive, Harvest, AL 35749  Tel : 1.256.771.7730, E-mail: hccna9@gmail.com

Timings: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 12 noon and 5 p.m.- 8p.m.; Saturday, Sunday 8a.m. - 8p.m.

The current HCCNA Temple was consecrated in June 2005 andthe deities were installed with an elaborate week-long Vedic ceremony conducted by priests and spiritually energized by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami  Viditatmananda and other religious and community leaders.
The temple is called Sarvajana Mandir  (Temple for all People). It is open every day in the morning and in the evening (all day on week ends) to provide a spiritual atmosphere for all people irrespective of their faith. The mission of the temple is to have spiritual and cultural upliftment for all relating to Sanatana Dharma and allied Hindu beliefs, while affirming the concept of global family.

About HCCNA Temple


The current HCCNA Temple was consecrated in June 2005 and the deities were installed with an elaborate week-long Vedic ceremony conducted by priests and spiritually energized by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami  Viditatmananda and other religious and community leaders. The deities installed in the first phase are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in the center as you enter the temple, Lord Ganesha on the left side and Lord Venkateswara on the right. Other deities are installed on all three sides of the temple in June 2006 in three-day long Vedic ceremony. The deities are Sri Mahalakshmi, Radha Krishna, Ram Parivar, Navagrahas, Shiva Parvati (Lingaraj), Kali, Hanuman and Durga. It is planned to install Lords Mahavir and Parshwanath, Lord Buddha and Sri Saraswati in 2007.


The temple architecture in the Hindu tradition is connected to astronomy and sacred geometry. The temple is a representation of the macrocosm (the universe) and the microcosm (the inner space). The temple consists of inner sanctums in which the idols are housed, with space for its circumambulation, and a congregation hall. The sanctum is crowned by a tower carved by skilled artisans called Shilpi’s. The tower called Shikhara or Vimana is visible from a distance as a symbol of upward human aspiration and as a landmark of the temple.

Hindus believe in one Supreme Being who is infinite, all-pervading and eternal and the source of all creation. God is in everything that exists, and is at the same time beyond the manifest universe. The various functions and aspects of the Supreme Being are given different names. For instance, the Trinity of Hinduism consists of Brahma - the Creator, Vishnu - the sustainer, and Shiva - the Destroyer. The incarnations of the Trinity are worshipped in various forms. The temples usually have some incarnations of the Trinity as idols for devotion and worship.


LORD JAGANNATH (right), SUBHADRA (center), and BALABHADRA (left)

The word Jagannath literally means “Lord of the Universe”. He thus represents the Supreme Being. There are images of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. These images are made of wood. The original temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath is located in Puri, in the State of Orissa in India, overlooking the Bay of Bengal. The temple in Puri is a hoary pilgrimage center in India consisting of a vast complex occupying an area of over 40,000 square feet. The shikhara of the temple in Puri towers to a height of 192 feet. The temple in Puri took 14 years to build and was consecrated in 1198 CE. Lord Jagannath is believed to be Krishna, Balabhadra is Krishna’s brother Balarama, and Subhadra is Krishna’s sister. The most important festival for Jagannath is the spectacular Chariot festival or Ratha Yatra during the period of June-July every year.


Lord Venkateswara is worshipped as Vishnu representing the Supreme functionality of sustaining, the presiding deity of the Tirumala Hills, in Andhra Pradesh, India. He is the one protecting and preserving the Universe. Lord Venkateswara, popularly known as Balaji, is the manifestations of Lord Vishnu, who has incarnated in the so-called cosmic time frame of kali-yuga corresponding to the present times we are living in. The sage requested Lord Vishnu to settle in Tirumala, to shower his eternal grace on mankind, who were very much depressed and unable to follow the rigorous yoga practices of self realization. Tirumala, the seat of Lord Venkateswara is surrounded by seven hills, thus He is known as Lord of the seven hills.


Lord Ganapati (also known as Ganesha) is worshipped as the remover of obstacles, and as the God of wisdom and success. He is described as the eldest son of Shiva and Parvathi, and is most well-known and found in almost all temples. There is a mythological story about how he got the elephant head. Please ask your guide to tell the story. The form of the elephant-headed deity is supposed to denote great physical strength tempered by gentleness, wisdom and peace. His vehicle is a mouse, which is supposed to represent the ego.

SRI MAHALAKSHMI (Also known as Goddess Lakshmi)

Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, light, wisdom, grace, charm, beauty and purity. She is the Mother of the Universe and Vishnu’s Shakti. She is married to Vishnu and appears as his mate in all of his reincarnations: as Sita (with Rama), as Rukmini (with Krishna) and as Padmavati with (Venkateshwara). She is also referred as Shri or Sri, as well as Narayani (“the wife of Narayan—Vishnu”). Goddess Lakshmi is identified with different forms of wealth. She is worshipped in nearly all households and businesses throughout the year. However, she is particularly worshipped during Dassera and Diwali.

Radha Krishna

Radha and Krishna have been a perennial source of inspiration to Indians. Also, Lord Krishna is the most popular god in contemporary Hinduism. He is certainly the best known god outside India because of the Krishna Consciousness movement, and the Bhagvad Gita, one of the best spiritual guides to emerge from India. Krishna is the eighth avatar or reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, born around 3102 BCE. He spent a happy childhood playing boyish pranks and attracting the gopis (cow girls) and other rustic maidens with his flute playing, which they found irresistible. But his favorite gopi was Radha, his childhood lover. Krishna has become the most popular focus of the devotional and ecstatic aspects of Hindu religion. Devotees of Krishna subscribe to the concept of lila, or divine play as the central principle of the universe.


Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman together constitute the Sita Rama Parivar and each of them represents the noblest of various facets of human character one can aspire for. Lord Rama is the seventh avatar or reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lakshmana is his brother and Hunuman is his devotee. To a Hindu, Rama and Sita are the manifestation of a perfect man and a perfect woman. Their adherence to truth under numerous trials and temptations, their steadfast endurance under privations, and their devotion to duty under all vicissitudes of fortune, forms the Hindu ideal of a perfect human life. In this respect the Ramayana (life story of Rama) gives us a true picture of Hindu faith and righteous life. The applicability and relevance of Ramayana as a perennial source of human and moral values is confined not just to India, but to the entire universe.


There are nine grahas (planets): Soorya (the Sun), Chandramaa (the Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn) and Rahu and Ketu . Both Rahu and Ketu are fictitious grahas given by two nodes (in the sky), which when occupied by Chandramaa, cause the solar and lunar eclipses respectively. These nodes are the points of intersection of Chandramaa’s orbit around Prithvee (the Earth) with the ecliptic plane . Jyotisha (Vedic Astrology) ignores the three outermost planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Rahu and Ketu supposedly take into account the affects of the excluded planets. The planetary positions at the time of birth reveal the events of a person’s present life as well as their past and future lives.


Most Hindus worship Lord Shiva as a member of the Hindu Trinity. Lord Shiva is considered the Destroyer, along with Brahmaa, the Creator, and Vishnu, the Preserver. Though Shiva is responsible for the dissolution of the universe, he is equally responsible for creation and existence, so he possesses the aspect of Regeneration. He is the source of fertility in all living beings. He bestows prosperity on worshipers. As Rudra, he destroys evil and sorrow. As Shankara, he is the doer of good. As Mahaadeva, he is the ‘overlord’ of the universe. As Mrityunjaya, he is the conqueror of death. As Nataraaja, he is Divine Dancer who performs Taandava Nritya (Cosmic Dance) producing frequencies of vibration corresponding to all manifestation. The iconic representation of Shiva in the form of Lingam (a symbol of the ultimate reality) is held in reverence in all Shiva temples.


Goddess Kali, also called Mother Kali, is worshipped particularly in Bengal and Orissa. 'Kal' also means Time and 'i' means the Cause; Kali, the Cause of Time or She Who is Beyond Time, activates Consciousness to perception, and allows Consciousness to perceive. Kali is a powerful and complex goddess with multiple forms. The blackness of Kali is exhibitive of the endless beginning, the black sky of eternity, a dark deep from where creation began. Her long, dark hair in disarray is the black clouds of the eternal sky. The wreath of heads around her neck is a relic of death, destruction and calamity. The lower left arm holding a head just severed betokens no escape from time, while the upper left holds a sword, the arm of destruction. Lower right hand is posed as if giving a boon, and the upper right hand is posed granting freedom from fear. She wears two arrows as ornaments for her ears, and a girdle of the hands of her victims. Her features are gaunt, her three eyes are Sun, Moon and Fire, of which the third, represents foresight and wisdom, a harbinger of supreme knowledge that opens once the human sight is cleared of ignorance. Surrounded by powers of the night, she stands astride Mahadeva, lying beneath Her.


Sri Hanuman epitomizes the noble qualities of virtue, strength, knowledge, devotion, and worship of Lord Rama. Hindus worship the astoundingly righteous attributes represented by Hanuman that most humans find hard to practice, such as Brahmacharya (celibacy) and Bhakti (devotion). He is symbolized in Hinduism for his unwavering dedication to righteousness, unstinting performance of entrusted duties, and unfailing talents in serving his chosen master, Lord Rama. Believed to be an avatar of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance, and devotion. Hanuman's tale in the epic Ramayana – where in he is assigned the responsibility to locate Rama's wife Sita abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka – is known for its astounding ability to inspire and equip a reader with all the ingredients needed to face ordeals and conquer obstructions in the way of the world.


Sri Durga, as embodiment of Skathi (Strength and Power) is considered to be the supreme Goddess by the Hindus and often referred to as Mother Durga. She is also the embodiment of courage, knowledge, purity, truth, beauty, grace, mercy, and self realization and is multi-dimensional with many names and personas. As Mahishasurmardini, she, with her infinite might, slays the demon Mahishasura. As Parvati, (the Goddess of the mountain) she is serene and extremely beautiful and adores Lord Shiva as his consort in the snowy peaks of Kailash mountain. As Kali, she turns into vibrant darkness, becomes omnipotent, terrible in range and fury and destroys demons, evils and ego. As Ambika, she is the divine mother. As Durga, she protects the mankind from dangers and misfortunes, sufferings and miseries.


Priests in Hindu temples usually come from families with long heritage of priesthood. They are well-versed in Sanskrit language in which most of he Hindu scriptures are written. One of the major duties of priests is to perform worship of the deities (called pooja) on behalf of devotees requesting such a service to the deity of their choice. Each deity is worshipped in a different way-- rituals are different and different Sanskrit Mantras are chanted. Typically temple priests do not engage in preaching (which is done by Swamijis, or Hindu monks). They will, however, explain the meaning of the pooja if asked.  Towards the end of the pooja, an oil lamp with one or several wicks is lit (called Aarati), and with ringing of bells and gongs and chanting of mantras the Aarati is waved slowly in front of the deity around in a vertical oval traversing the whole deity from head to foot. At the end of this ceremony, the Aarati is taken to the people attending the pooja to absorb the spiritual vibrations.
Temple Priests perform daily poojas to the deities in the temple in the morning and evening to maintain the sanctity and the spiritual atmosphere in the temple.  

Upcoming Events

The following are the list of planned events in the next 30 days.  
To sponsor any puja or for more info, please contact us 256.771.7730 or 256.771.7772 (Monday – Friday – 8 am to 12 noon and 5 pm – 8 pm; Saturday & Sunday – 8 am to 8 pm)

Daily Schedule

8:00am - 9:30am Nitya Aradhana
11:00am - 12 noon All Deities Pooja & Arathi
5:00pm - 6:30pm Ganapathi Pooja
6:30pm - 8:00pm Shiva Pooja & Arathi

8:00am - 9:30am Nitya Aradhana
11:00am - 12 noon All Deities Pooja & Arathi
5:00pm - 8:00pm Durga & Hanuman Pooja & Arathi

8:00am - 9:30am Nitya Aradhana
11:00am - 12 noon All Deities Pooja & Arathi
5:00pm - 8:00pm Vishnu Sahasra Namavali & Arathi

8:00am – 9:30am Nitya Aradhana
11:00am – 12 noon Mahalakshmi Sametha, Jagannath; All Deities Pooja & Mahaprasadam
5:00pm – 8:00pm Rama & Krishna Pooja & Arathi

8:00am - 9:30am Nitya Aradhana
11:00am - 12 noon All Deities Pooja & Arathi
5:00pm - 8:00pm Lakshmi Pooja & Arathi

8:00am – 11:30am Venkateshwara Suprabhatam & Abhishekam
11:30am – 12 noon All Deities Pooja & Arathi & Mahaprasadam
5:00pm – 8:00pm All Deities Pooja & Arathi

8:00am – 9:30am Nitya Aradhana
11:00am – 1:00pm Mahalakshmi Sametha, Jagannath, Venkateswara, Rama & Krishna, Ganesha, Durga & Shiva Pooja, Arathi &Mahaprsadam
5:00pm – 8:00pm All Deities Pooja & Arathi


HCCNA is run by a group of dedicated and committed team comprised primarily of volunteers

Board of Trustees

Dr. N Rao Boorgu (256.381.7407)

Dr. Suresh Karne

Founding Chair:
Dr. Bhagabat Sahu
Dr. Narayana Bhat (256.772.5844)

Contact Us

Mailing Address: P. O. Box 12362, Huntsville, AL 35815   
Phone: 256-771-7730
Timings: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 12 noon and 5 p.m.- 8p.m.; Saturday, Sunday 8a.m. - 8p.m.
Location: 14800 Vishnu Way/14854 Smith Drive, Harvest, AL 35749

Om Tat Sat

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


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