Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA -92

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA  

Hindu Society of Greater Spartanburg (2011), South Carolina, USA

Over the past five decades, immigration has dramatically changed the religious landscape of the United States. Today, the encounter of people of different religious traditions takes place in our own cities and neighborhoods. In 1991, the Pluralism Project at Harvard University began a pioneering study of America's changing religious landscape. Through an expanding network of affiliates, we document the contours of our multi-religious society, explore new forms of interfaith engagement, study the impact of religious diversity in civic life, and contextualize these findings within a global framework.


Activities and Schedule
The Society holds Satsang from 5-7 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month. There are usually around ten families present. The Society also celebrates many religious and social festivals based on the Hindu calendar. Recent celebrations have included Navariti, Diwali, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Geeta Jayanti, and many others. Though the Balvihar does not meet on a regular basis, the temple is quite active in sponsoring children's programs, such as Rangoli classes and classical and contemporary dance classes.
The founder president and current member of the Board of Trustees for the Hindu Society of Greater Spartanburg, Mr. Ashvin Shah, describes his temple community as “a small community with a big dream.” When this community was first established, it consisted of approximately 35 Hindu families meeting for worship and Balvihar in their homes. Indian Hindus in the Spartanburg area first came together in the early 1970s with the formation of the Indian Association. However, the group had minimal activity. In 1984, the Hindu Society of Greater Spartanburg was formed. Worship services had been held at various schools and churches.
The community desired to build a temple to create a center for youth and community development, providing a space for worship as well as an opportunity to promote learning and preservation of their Hindu heritage. Through donations and fundraising, 8.5 acres of land was purchased in October of 1985, and construction of an 8,000 square-foot hall and temple began in 1989. Construction of a Devasthan started in 2002 and was completed in July of 2006, adding an additional 3,000 square feet to the temple. While Mr. Shah and his family were visiting India in January of 2004, they contacted Pandey Murti Museum, a well-reputed supplier of the murtis for temples in Jaipur, India, to carve human-size murtis of the Deities from marble of the highest quality. They were commissioned to carve nine murti deity figures to be the centerpieces of the Devasthan. It took an entire year and a half for the figures to be carved from marble slabs, painted, and prepared for installation. A massive week-long dedication celebration for the completion of the Devasthan and the installation of the marble murtis took place at the beginning of August 2006. Smaller marble replicas of the human-sized murtis were paraded around the temple with much fanfare.
There are 150 families in and around Spartanburg who belong to this community. The temple continues to grow, and a full kitchen is currently being installed. While the temple does not yet have a website, it has become an active force in the Spartanburg community. They encourage interfaith dialogue by inviting local college students, churches and local residents to visit the temple and learn about Hindu religion. The temple also gives generously to organizations like the Red Cross for humanitarian projects and has its own Community Awareness Program. The community’s motto -- “if you can dream it, you can have it” -- illustrates their desire to continue to contribute to all residents of Spartanburg, South Carolina. 
The Hindu Society of Greater Spartanburg is run like a typical organization. Members of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees serve in their elected positions for two years. The two groups decide together when and how to celebrate the Hindu festivals. Mr. Bhamar Trivedi and Mr. Shukla Shidarth are Brahmin priests who are active at the temple. Both men travel throughout the state performing domestic rituals, marriages, home pujas, consecration of homes, funerals, and ancestral rites. However, they both hold secular jobs. There is no residential priest, but there are plans for one. Mr. Ashvin Shah is the executive committee president.
The approximately 150 families in the Society are from every part of India, but many, if not the majority, are Gujarati. Most members reside in Spartanburg and Cherokee counties though some members live in Shelby, NC (Shelby is actually closer to Spartanburg than to Charlotte community of Hindus). Some members have joint membership with the Vedic Center in Greenville. The Society asks for $101 per year from each family to pay for regular maintenance, but they stress that anyone is welcome to worship and participate, regardless of membership.
The temple is located in a rural area just outside the city limits of Spartanburg. There are no signs posted outside the temple to indicate what it is. The temple is made of cement brick. Interestingly, because it is outside the city limits, they have a well on their property.
There is a 3,000 square-foot marble Devasthan attached to the temple hall where 9 murtis of the Deities reside. The hand-carved, solid marble murtis are situated in this order from left to right:
(1) Shri Durga (Amba) Mata riding a lion.
(2) Shri Ram, Laxnan and Seeta with Hanuman at the feet of Shri Ram.
(3) Shri Krushna and Radha.
(4) Shri Shiva, Parvati and baby Ganeshin on the lap of Parvati.
(5) Full-sized Shri Ganesh. In front of Shri Ganesh are the individual murtis of the Shivaling, Jaladhari, Kurma (turtle) and Nandi (the Ox – conveyance of God Shri Shiva).
The murtis have replaced polychrome-framed pictures which were housed in the temporary Devasthan before the installation of this new, permanent Devasthan. A real copy of the famous Indian epic Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta is placed on a pure marble pink lotus flower to the right of the murti of Shri Krushna. Behind the murtis of the deities, a wall mural depicts the scene and universal message of the Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta, where Arjuna discusses his Dharmic (religious) dilemma with Lord Shri Krushna, who guides him as he serves as his charioteer. The murtis of the deities are cared for by various members of the community since there is currently no resident priest.
The entrance to the building is undergoing renovation with the installation of a full kitchen. Additionally the parking lot has been completely paved in asphalt and painted to accommodate parking for about 30 vehicles.
Researcher credits
Andrea Mills and Alison Prevost, 1998
Updated by Benjamin Coleman and Melissa Peterson, 2000
Updated by student Alina Kelman in Dr. Sam Britt's senior seminar course, Fall 2002
Furman University, Greenville, S.C.
Updated by Amanda Pruitt, research assistant of Dr. Sam Britt, Furman Advantage Research Fellowship, 2010

Approximately 150 families
Ethnic Composition
Indian (all parts of India); Gujarati spoken at the temple
Our mission is to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources.
In the past fifty years the religious landscape of the United States has changed radically. There are Islamic centers and mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples and meditation centers in virtually every major American city. The encounter between people of very different religious traditions takes place in the proximity of our own cities and neighborhoods. The results of the 2010 census underscore the tremendous scope of ethnic change in our society, but tell us little about its religious dimensions or its religious significance.
Pluralism has long been a generative strand of American ideology. Mere diversity or plurality alone, however, does not constitute pluralism. There is lively debate over the implications of our multicultural and multireligious society in civic, religious, and educational institutions. How we appropriate plurality to shape a positive pluralism is one of the most important questions American society faces in the years ahead. It will require all of us to know much more about the new religious landscape of America than we presently know.
The Pluralism Project: World Religions in America is a two decade-long research project with current funding from the Lilly Endowment and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation to engage students in studying the new religious diversity in the United States. We will explore particularly the communities and religious traditions of Asia and the Middle East that have become woven into the religious fabric of the United States in the past twenty-five years. The overall aims of the Pluralism Project are:
1. To document and better understand the changing contours of American religious demography, focusing especially on those cities and towns where the new plurality has been most evident and discerning the ways in which this plurality is both visible and invisible in American public life.
2. To study the religious communities themselves - their temples, mosques, gurudwaras and retreat centers, their informal networks and emerging institutions, their forms of adaptation and religious education in the American context, their encounter with the other religious traditions of our common society, and their encounter with civic institutions.
3. To explore the ramifications and implications of America's new plurality through case studies of particular cities and towns, looking at the response of Christian and Jewish communities to their new neighbors; the development of interfaith councils and networks; the new theological and pastoral questions that emerge from the pluralistic context; and the recasting of traditional church-state issues in a wider context.
4. To discern, in light of this work, the emerging meanings of religious "pluralism," both for religious communities and for public institutions, and to consider the real challenges and opportunities of a public commitment to pluralism in the light of the new religious contours of America.

Letter from Diana Eck, Director

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Cambridge! We here at the Pluralism Project hope that 2013 has found you and yours happy and well. During the month of January, I traveled with nearly fifty Harvard colleagues and students from across the University to Allahabad where we joined 30 million Hindu pilgrims for the centuries old pilgrimage, the Kumbh Mela. The trip was jointly coordinated by the South Asia Institute at Harvard and the Harvard Global Health Institute. In the Fall I, along with my colleague Rahul Mehrotra of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, taught a course on the Kumbh Mela which happens once every twelve years. Here’s a link to a story in the Harvard Gazette about our trip. You can also read more on our team’s blog, Mapping the Mela.
Now, the semester is well underway and I am teaching two courses—a seminar on Gandhi: Then and Now and another on dialogue and diaspora in world religions. We kicked off the semester here by celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week with many campus partners. The Pluralism Project co-hosted with the Center for the Study of World Religions a panel discussion of the book My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis, 2012). I had the pleasure of introducing the panel, which included colleagues from Harvard, Andover Newton Theological School, Hebrew College, and Brown University. This month we co-hosted with the Center for the Study of World Religions a very successful film screening featuring the work of long-time Pluralism Project and Harvard Divinity School alumna, Lina Verchery.
Another Pluralism Project alum, Abhishek Raman, invited me to speak to his colleagues at the Interfaith Youth Core. It was wonderful to reflect on my own experiences in the interfaith movement and to hear about some of the challenges and opportunities IFYC staff encounter as they work to promote interfaith engagement and leadership on campuses across the nation—all via Skype!
Although it is only March, many are looking ahead to warmer months and exploring new opportunities for the summer. Check out the summer internships page on our website. Or, would your organization like to add a listing to our summer internships page? Click here for more information on how to share this news with us. If you are a graduate, undergraduate, or a high school student (or know someone who is) and are interested in interning with the Pluralism Project this summer, there’s more information for that, too!
In closing, I'd like to take a moment to say a heartfelt thank you to all who contributed in recent months for our annual appeal campaign. On behalf of the entire Pluralism Project staff, we thank you for your ongoing support which helps to make our work possible. If you didn't get a chance to donate, you can do so online at any time by visiting http://www.pluralism.org/about/donation
All the best,

Vedic Center of Greenville, Mauldin, South Carolina 

520, Bethel Dr, Mauldin, SC 29662
Tel: 864-967-2852


Activities and Schedule
Monday-Friday: evening puja, 8:00 P.M.
Saturday and Sunday: evening puja, 7:00 P.M.
Sundays during school year: Balvihar, 11:15 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
2nd Saturday of the month: Sri Venkateshwara Suprabhatam, 9:00 A.M.

Major festivals observed:
Shiv Ling Satsang
Holi Puja
Akhand Ramayan
Mahavir Jayanti
Hanuman Jayanti
Ganesh Chaturthi
Venkatesvara Vivaha
Tulsi Vivaha

A few times a year, lecturers are brought in (sponsored sometimes by the center itself and other time by members or businesses) to hold talks on Hindu life and practices, such as meditation and yoga.
Weddings, anniversaries, graduation parties, dinners and other community gatherings are often held at the Vedic Center, though it serves mostly as a religious center. Usually, it is the India Association of Greater Greenville, not the Vedic Center, that sponsors various Indian cultural events, e.g., dance and musical events, some of which are held on the Furman University campus. Art, music, and dance competitions for children are also held regionally.
The Vedic Center publishes a semi-monthly newsletter to keep community members up to date on the center’s activities, special religious holidays, and lectures. At the time of the installation of the murti in the temple, a special booklet was published detailing the process and history of the group and explaining the significance of each of the temple’s deities. An end-of-the-year report reviewing the center’s activities is also published.
Several times a year, members of the Vedic Center are asked to present information on the Hindu religion to schools and other local groups.
Starting in the mid-1960s, the first generation of Indian immigrants came to South Carolina. In 1969, a group of 20-30 Indian families in Greenville decided to form a Hindu Association in order to preserve their cultural and religious practices.
During the early years, this group of families rented space and met in churches and community buildings, but in 1983, the group, which had grown significantly, began a process of fund-raising and organization in order to purchase a site on which to build a permanent temple and gathering place for the community. One of the factors in deciding to build the temple were comments from the children about having no place to pray and worship.
Donations were made by community members (some over $5000) and in 1987, the community purchased five acres of open land at the corner of Bethel Road and Bethel Drive. A large ceremony called bhumipuja (“Earth worship/honor”), comparable to a groundbreaking ceremony, was held for the dedication of the site. Several Jain and Hindu priests were brought in to perform purification rituals and the blessing of the site. (The significance of the bhumipuja is twofold: to consecrate the ground and to give thanks and apologize for any and all damage done to the earth.) Construction then commenced, and the center was completed in 1989. It was the second Hindu religious center established in South Carolina. (The first was in Columbia.)
The Inauguration service in the Vedic Center was held on December 2, 1989, but at the time only pictures/paintings of the deities were in place as the murti had to be ordered and shipped from India. The Murti Sthapana, the installation of the murti, took place May 20-22, 1994.
The center’s relationship with its surrounding neighborhood has been a peaceful one—it has encountered little or no difficulties or prejudices during its history.
The Vedic Center community has grown by leaps and bounds since its establishment, and by 2005, there were about 1500 families regularly utilizing the temple hall. The temple hall could only accommodate 150 to 200 people at a time and soon it became necessary to expand. The administrative body as well as the temple’s patrons were inspired to create a shared space between the Hindu and non-Hindu community. Mr. Dhulekar, now President of the Vedic Center, imagined the creation of a “Greater Greenville community” sharing a space which encompassed both the sacred and the secular, the traditional and the modern. This dream was realized in the development of the Ahimsa Hall (ahimsa means non-violence).
The new Hall, completed in 2007, was constructed adjacent to the existing temple hall to facilitate easy transition from one space to the other. The giant hall can officially accommodate 650 people and includes a stage with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, library and fully equipped in-house kitchen. The Hall is large enough to accommodate several badminton nets and a basketball court, and still have room for practicing dance troupes or children’s activities. Since its inception, the Hall has hosted a variety of community functions including senior citizen group activities, yoga meditation classes, health fairs and sports tournaments. Lectures, plays and dance performances utilize the stage area, and most of these events are in English. The Hall can be rented by the local community for weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, religious ceremonies and graduation parties. The only limitation is there can be no serving of meat or alcohol products since the facility is adjoined to the worship hall.
Ahimsa Hall cost a million dollars to construct and would not have been possible without generous donations from the community and various fundraising activities. Many kitchen appliances and library cabinets were donated by patrons and local businesses to help support the Vedic Center’s endeavors.
In December 2009, the preexisting worship hall was remodeled and outfitted with new window trimmings, lights and ceiling fans.
The Vedic Center, now a nonprofit organization with over 2000 family patrons, is funded entirely by donations and fundraising. 2010 marks the 20-year anniversary of the Vedic Center’s establishment and they look forward to continued growth and successful interfaith activity in the community.
The Health and Culture Library
A young student, Nirav Gandhi, built this new library as a project while pursuing Eagle Scouts. A longtime goal of the Vedic Center community, Gandhi literally built the library into Ahimsa Hall with financial contributions from sponsors as well as his own funds. He purchased all the materials and bought the books for the library. Cabinets for the books were donated by Handi Restaurant, Northwest Mutual, Allstate, Neeta Rana Medical Group and Krishna Groceries. The Health and Culture Library is truly a unique addition to the Ahimsa Hall and an inspiration for community volunteerism.
Currently, a group of about 400 Indians worship at the Vedic Center. The members of the community are immigrants from various parts of India, with the majority (over 80 percent) speaking Gujarati and Hindi. The worship services are conducted in three languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and Sanskrit, but there are booklets with transliterated versions of the three languages for children (most of whom were born in the United States) and visitors. The 1990s saw an increase of people of Telegu and Tamil backgrounds; these number about 25 families. They often take the lead in preparing the Venkatesvara festivals. Booklets of Bhajans (hymns) sung during puja now include Telegu. Members of the Vedic Center represent a variety of devotional traditions: Saivite, Vaishnavite, adherents of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, Satya Sai Baba devotees, and Jains. The Jains were among the first Indian families to come to Greenville. Today, about 20 families live in the greater Greenville area. Many are members of the Vedic Center, where they occasionally go for puja. Most Jains in South Carolina are Svetambara.
The community is made up of all age groups, though the younger population (under 30) is the largest with around 100 people. Senior citizens number around 25-30, and there is a large number of children in the group as well. There is a Youth Committee that sponsors youth and young adult activities. There is also a Senior Citizens group.
The facility now includes two adjoined structures: the worship hall on the right and the Ahimsa Hall on the left. There are separate entrances for each structure. The main worship hall has an outside overhang with a wooden bench on either side of the entrance for visitors to observe the beautiful bushes which bloom in the summer and decorate the concrete walkway to the entrance. The Ahimsa Hall may be entered directly through its double doors which connect it to the facility’s large parking lot or from a set of doors on the left side of the main worship hall.
Once inside the worship hall, there is a small room immediately to the left with wall to ceiling cubbies to place shoes upon entering the temple. Further in is a small table and bulletin board displaying information about upcoming local community events at the Center. As visitors proceed into the main hall, a decorative Ganesh head hangs on the wall in greeting. The main hall is freshly painted in white with all new lighting and ceiling fans. Facing the large open room is the Devasthan which is on a stage raised above the floor level of the hall.
The entire room is focused on the array of murti (images) at the front. Facing the front, on the far left is Lord Balaji—the only murti composed of black granite. (All others are carved from white marble.) To the right of Balaji is Lord Shiva, wearing his characteristic leopard skin. Next is Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, and his family: his brother Lakshmana, his wife Sita and his monkey general Hanuman. In the center of the array sits Ganesha. Most worship at the temple begins with the worship of Ganesha; as the “remover of obstacles,” he “opens the door” to good worship. Next are Krishna—also an avatar of Vishnu—and his favorite gopi (cowherder’s daughter), Radha. To their right are Durga (a goddess figure) and Lord Mahavira—the prominent figure of Jainism. In the center, in front of Ganesha, is the Shiva linga, a nonanthropomorphic murti of Shiva. (The linga was installed two years after the others. Its location in the center of the Devasthan has to do with symmetry, not privilege.) A small figure of Shiva’s consort, Parvati, sits on the rim of the basin containing the Linga. Such a wide array of murti is characteristic of American temples reaching out to a more diverse community.
In keeping with traditional temple architecture, there is a hallway behind the murti for post-worship circumambulation.
To the left of the worship area is the entrance to Ahimsa Hall. At its farthest end is a professional-grade stage complete with maroon-shaded curtains and a state-of-the-art sound system. Often when entering Ahimsa Hall, there will be many social groups using the facilities, i.e. sports groups, school children, etc. There are usually volleyball and badminton nets up. Other times, there are men playing basketball. The large room can be cleared and set up for health fairs and bazaars, or even performances and lectures. The Ahimsa Hall has another entrance in the front of the building so visitors are not required to enter through the worship area. The buildings were deliberately constructed this way in order to facilitate the separation and/or integration of religious and secular functions as necessary depending upon the utilization of the facility and preferences of the renter. The Health and Culture Library is a small room with couches and a table along with five wooden book cabinets painted in white with small golden plaques on them indicating the donor. On the back wall of Ahimsa Hall is a large, fully-equipped kitchen, capable of enabling the preparation of meals for hundreds of patrons and visitors.
Administrative structure
The leadership of the Vedic Center is very well organized, with an executive committee (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Coordinator, and four other members), Board of Trustees (five members), Balvihar Committee (five members) and a Maintenance Committee (four members). The center has a constitution, and decisions are made by vote of all the members (those who pay the $125 per year membership fee). Committee members are elected every one to two years and the Board of Directors changes one person every year, with each member serving for five years. The community seems to be very ambitious and has the wealth to continue expanding its facilities.
Although there is an official administrative division of the Vedic Center which oversees its operations, the entire community is encouraged to participate in developing the Center. New ventures are not acted upon without approval by the community. All decisions are made jointly using this “consensus-based approach” which strengthens community support for the Center. Committees made up of a combination of administrators, patron members and local residents work on improving and maintaining different parts of the facility. Additionally, teenagers are invited to take part in the Vedic community via the Indian Youth Association (IYA), where they develop projects and assist with public events and educational programs for children.
Current concerns and future plans
Prior to July 2010, the Vedic Center did not have a resident priest, and thus, the members of the Vedic community shared the responsibility of administering worship services. Each family was required to provide the food and lead the ceremony once a month.
As of July 2010, the Vedic Center acquired community approval and the resources needed to sustain a resident priest for a period of one year. In August 2010, a resident priest was selected to perform ritual functions and the administration of worship protocol on a trial basis. As such, the community members will no longer administer prasad and will be called upon to focus on fiscal contributions in order to sustain the resident priest beyond the one-year timeframe.
The membership dues are now $125 a year which provides access to the sports facilities of Ahimsa Hall, subscription to the Center’s newsletter and free or reduced-price tickets to Vedic Center-sponsored programs. However, the Center is willing to consider a reduced cost student membership for local college students.
The Vedic Center wishes to keep its facilities open to the community whenever needed; “temple 365” is their motto. There had been previous complaints that the temple was not open when patrons arrived so a member had been appointed to open the temple daily at 7:45AM, rain or shine, and earlier when Ahimsa Hall sports facilities need to utilize the space. Now that a resident priest has been established, he will be ensuring open access to the facilities.
Additionally, the Vedic Center is now beginning a recycling initiative headed by Veena Khandke, an active Vedic member and professor at Furman University.
Relationships with other faith communities
The Vedic Center has established fruitful, cooperative relationships with several area churches. The Center also has an on-going relationship with Greenville Faith Communities United, a local organization that works to promote interfaith understanding and cooperation.
Special report on Balvihar at the Greenville Vedic Center
“Bal,” meaning young, and “vihar,” meaning together, combine to develop the understanding that Balvihar is a time for children to embrace the Hindu tradition. Balvihar’s objectives involve the development of basic reading, writing, and communication skills in Hindi. It also develops awareness of Hindu cultural heritage, traditions, and values by celebrating important Hindu festivals. The purpose of Balvihar is to instill traditional Hindu values and develop self-esteem through the study of great Hindu personalities. The activities of the youth and Balvihar promote team spirit and leadership qualities through sports and games. [1] Balvihar may be compared to the Christian “Sunday School” tradition in America.
The Vedic Center has been conducting Balvihar each Sunday (11:15 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.) for the past ten years for children pre-school through high school. Volunteers in the Center conduct the classes for free. Although Balvihar is in English, the songs and prayers are in Hindi.
About 60-70 children attend Balvihar each week, and the number of children participating has been growing each week. First, Balvihar begins with everyone sitting down on the stage near the murti. They learn a new prayer in Hindi and practice it several times. Next, everyone performs yoga for 15 minutes. A teacher leads the children in a series of breathing exercises and stretches. The children listen with respect to the teacher’s instructions and obediently participate. Then, the children separate into groups: preschool, elementary and middle/high school.
The Vedic Center uses the Vedic Heritage Program for Balvihar. “The Vedic Heritage Program is a guide for families and communities that wish to teach the Vedic heritage to their children in an organized and systematic manner. The subject manner has been organized in three volumes, tailored to the ages of children.” [2] As part of the Vedic Heritage teaching program, Balvihar is an important component of children’s education of their culture and religion. The teaching program incorporates reading and discussion for children to learn more about their culture and its application to everyday life in America. The teaching format is based on a school year consisting either of 40 classes lasting one hour to one and a half hours per class per week, or two classes per week lasting 30 or 45 minutes. The entire program is thus covered over a period of ten school years. [3]
According to Sastraprakasika, a center dedicated to the spread of the Vedic tradition, the first volume includes selected stories and instructions for puja. This helps the children learn values and cultural expressions through the lives of the heroes represented in the Ramayana, the Bhagavatam and the Mahabharata. The second volume covers religious disciplines, cultural forms, rites of passage, and Vedic knowledge. The children are taught the meaning behind food, dress, language, fine arts and home culture. The third volume includes topics on Complementary Vedic Literature development and contemporary teenage issues. [4] In Greenville, a young Jain father named Menoj teaches the oldest group of children. Even though he is a Jain, he wants the youth to understand their Hindu heritage and encourages them to do so.
Not only is Balvihar the time for children to learn about the Hindu temple, it is also a time for them to learn about their culture and be with other people with the same background. Samantha, a 14-year-old student, remarked that she was one of only three Indian children at her high school. But at the Vedic Center she felt more included and accepted because she was around people like her. All the kids attend various schools around the Greenville area, but they all come together at the Vedic Center for Balvihar each week.
For more information about Balvihar at the Vedic Center, contact Shoeba Vadoothker at 864-268-1963.
[1] www.balvihar.org
[2] www.arshavidya.org
[3] www.sastraprakasika.org/VHTP/splfeaturesvhtp.htm
[4] www.sastraprakasika.org
Balvihar report researched and written by Elizabeth Catoe and Stephanie Haik in the fall of 2002 at Furman University, as an assignment for Dr. Sam Britt's senior seminar course on South Asian Religions in South Carolina.

Temple is OPEN daily

9:00AM to 12:00PM (Noon)
5:00PM to 9:00PM

Aarti Timings:

Weekdays - 8:00PM
Weekends - 7:00PM

Weekly Schedule:

SUN: 6:00PM to 7:00PM

Rudram Chanting &
Lord Shiva Abishegam
MON: 7:00PM to 8:00PM

Hanuman Chalisa Chanting
TUE: 7:30PM to 8:00PM

THURS: 7:00PM to 8:00PM

Lalitha Sahasranaman &
Mahishasure Mardhini Chanting
FRI: 7:00PM to 8:00PM

Suprabatham - Followed by
Lord Balaji Abishegam & Aarthi
SAT: 9:00A

Vishnu Sahasranamam &
Hanuman Chalisa Chanting
SAT: 6:00PM to 7:00PM


Weekly every Sunday

Time:11:15AM - 12:30PM

For information contact:
Shobha Vadoothker at 268-1963
Aruna Chandrasekhar at 322-8598
Bharati Mehta at 268-8828


2013-2014 Executive Committee

Shailendra Mathur
Vice President:
Ricky Patel
Ajay Mehta
Naren Hegneshwar


Dr. Ragesh Pandaya
Praful Veer


Audio System:
Venu Sama
Events Coordinator:
Neelu Matai
Information Technology:
Subhash Dhulekar
Kitchen Coordinator:
Shaunak Dalal
Maintenance Coordinator:

Membership Coordinator:
Bisham Matai
Religious Activities:
Dr. Geera Desai
Rental Coordinator:
Satish Kinariwala
Youth Activities:
Sanjay Patel
Ganesh Rajagopalan


Jaya Harish

Neela Vakharia
Nilima Chaudhari
Sunitha Raj
Raj Patel
Mythili Gopal

Board of Trustees (by Tenure)

Dr.Ragesh Pandya


Bharti Mathur

Ricky Patel

Kaushik Patel

Calendar of Events 2013

July 23-29
Shivpuran katha
August 20
Raksha Bandhan
August 28
Sep 8
Keveda Teej
Sep 9
Ganesh Chathurthi
Oct 5-13
Oct 12
Durgasthmni Havan
Oct 19
Dushera & Sharar Purnima
Nov 1
Nov 2
Kali Chaudas
Nov 3
Nov 4
Nov 9

Shri Sreenivasa, Shiva, Rama Sita Lakshmana, Ganesha,
Radha Krishna,  Durga, Hanuman and Mahavir

Shivpuran Katha

It is with great joy to announce Pujya Bupendra Bhai's discourse on SHIV PURAN KATHA between July 23rd and July 29th.

Location of
Vedic Center of Greenville


520 Bethel Road, Mauldin, SC 29662

Directions to Vedic Center:

  • From I-85 or I-385, take exit 34 off I-385 South
  • Go Towards Mauldin, take a left on Bethel Drive (2nd light)
  • Go to the dead end
  • Vedic Center is on you right before the STOP sign

Om Tat Sat

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


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