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Devotional Fervor Marks Laksha Lingarchana at HTA

Ravi R Ponangi is the Atlanta correspondent for India Tribune Newspaper. 

(Top to Bottom) 1. Swami Chidatmanandaji offering prayers in front of the parthiva lingas. 2. Prakarotsavam - deities taken round the temple in a colorful procession. 3. Devotees placing the lingams at appropriate places. 4. Devotees making Siva lingams with special clay.

ILaksha Lingarchana, a unique worship to Lord Siva was performed at the Hindu temple of Atlanta recently. More than 2000 devotees witnessed the worship, the first of its kind in US at the Riverdale temple in Atlanta. As a prelude to the fete, priests performed a Ganapati homam on Thursday, April 20, a Chandi homam on Friday, April 21 and a Rudra homam on the early hours of Saturday, April 22, the day of the laksha lingarchana. Twelve priests, some from other temples around the US performed this unique worship to Lord Siva.

Devout volunteers, numbering 300, gathered at the temple by 5 am on the day of worship and made one hundred thousand Siva Lingams with special clay and kept these parthiva lingams ready for special worship.

After placing the lingams at appropriate places, the deities of Lord Siva, Ramaligeswara together with his consorts were taken out in a colorful prakarotsavam (procession) around the temple. The 108 sponsors worshipped the Siva lingams under the guidance of priests in accordance with Hindu rituals. After completion of puja, a celestial bath (abhishekam) was given to a huge Siva Lingam, specially erected for the purpose with honey, milk, juices, sugar, vibhuti, ghee, water, coconut water and so on. Then followed Siva sahasranama puja. Rituals connected with Laksha Lingarchana were completed in six hours and the sponsors sat through the process and did all the pujas with patience and devotion as guided by the priests. Swami Chidatmananda of Chinmaya Mission visited the temple on the occasion and temple authorities received him with temple honors. Devotees felt happy to see him so unexpectedly at the temple Swami Chidatmananda is popular for his discourses on TV channels.

Several volunteers of the temple worked very hard for the success of this mega event for a couple of months under the guidance of Dr. Manga Raju Vanapally, puja committee chairman and Ms. Parvaty Kancherla, Event Coordinator. Devotees left the temple after witnessing the Laksha Lingarchana with satisfaction and in high spirits appreciating the Hindu temple for organizing such a rare event. 

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