What’s A Temple Like Hindu Doing In A ‘Burgh Like This?
Helensburgh’s Sri Venkateswara Temple is one of the most popular and impressive Hindu temples in the Southern Hemisphere, drawing visitors and Hindu devotees from all over New South Wales, and the rest of Australia.
The small, isolated town of Helensburgh may seem like an odd choice for the location of such an important religious landmark, but it was chosen in 1978 as an abode for Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Lakshmi in accordance with Vedic principles. The five requirements for the construction of a Hindu temple are:
- Virgin land (no building can ever have stood there before)
- Island land (of course, Australia is the biggest island in the world. Also, there are no neighbouring buildings on the piece of land and it is made into an ‘island’ by the roads on each side of it. Thanks Louise)
- Land surrounded by forest (no shortage of bushland surrounding Helensburgh)
- Close to a water source (the temple is located close to the area’s beautiful Kelly’s Falls and surrounding creek system)
- Close to the ocean (famous Stanwell Park beach is only a ten-minute drive from the temple)
The temple’s location in Temple Road, Helensburgh, NSW, meets all five of these requirements, making the site venerated by all devotees. It is believed that Helensburgh’s natural beauty, being surrounded by hills and groves, welcomed Lord Venkatswara and Goddess Lakshmi to remain in the temple to bestow their blessings on their devotees. The Helensburgh temple was constructed in the traditional style of Indian architecture, creating a truly unique and beautiful cultural jewel in the landscape of Helensburgh.
The Mahakumbhabhishekam, a consecration of the temple by sacred waters, was performed in June, 1985. The temple now serves as a House of Light, a source of solace and spiritual guidance, for all of Australia’s Hindu community.
Sri Venkateswara Temple is open seven days a week, from 8:00am to 7:00pm, but closed from 12:00pm to 4:00pm on weekdays. The temple offers Poojas to deities according to the Hindu calendar; Aarthi, Archana or Abhishekam ceremonies on request; as well as more elaborate events for Weddings, Homams, Sahasarnamams, Kalyana Utsavams and other festivals, including many community, family and children’s events.
There are four praharam, or encircling corridors, around the temple, as well as a road for motor vehicle access. The temple has a full complement of experienced and qualified priests, whose dedication and high standards of performance during ceremonies and festivals has been praised by temple devotees. The temple also provides canteen facilities from 10:00am to 4:00pm on weekends and public holidays, in addition to modern bathrooms, mother’s rooms, and first-aid facilities. Catering for weddings and other events is also available.
Visiting the Sri Venkatswara Temple is a treat for any visitor to the Helensburgh area; such an unexpected and colourful splash of culture within this quiet and charming village. Whether you’re visiting for worship, to expose yourself to the culture, learn something new about Hinduism, or just to admire the beautiful architecture of the temple itself and it’s surrounding monuments, you will surely be both impressed and moved by this gorgeous place, its story, and its people.
Images/Photos, and Article © Ian Piggott 2013 – all rights reserved,