By Dr. Venugopal Menon
It is the first traditional Hindu religious landmark in the Southwest United States. What started in 1977 as a humble dream for a small group of supporters has gradually blossomed into a magnificent complex meeting the religious needs of the vast, growing community. This is the first such temple outside India with Goddess Meenakshi as the main deity, constructed with guidance and assistance from the original Sri Meenakshi temple in Madurai, India.
Before the main temple was built, and as the conventional custom of Hindu faith dictates, a small ‘Sannidhi’, sanctum for Lord Ganesha was consecrated, as shown in the picture, in 1979. Worshippers visiting the temple begin their ‘darshan’, offering obeisance at the Ganesh temple first, thus attesting to its sentimental significance.
The founders struggled very hard during the initial stages to raise funds, own a piece of land and construct a small Ganesh temple. It was a modest, free standing sheltered sanctum where poojas were conducted by conversant, local volunteers as the devotees stood outside in the open and prayed. The main temple was constructed in 1982 followed by the majestic and ornate ‘gopurams’ at the four entrances along with the traditional surrounding walls.
The Goddess Temple has become a sacred Indian monument in Pearland. To quote Texas Traveler “seeing a gleaming white Hindu temple rising from the grass in the middle of Texas cornfield is a thing to behold”, should give an impression of how it is perceived as an established landmark of the area.
The temple architect, Padmashree Muthiah Stapathi designed the new project as instructed by our scriptural guidelines, and taking into consideration the needs of our growing devotee population. Ashok Mungara, our local architect has been in charge of the construction that should be completed and ready to be inaugurated at the Kumbabhishekam. The new construction includes a Vimanam above the Sannidhi, sixteen Shodasa Ganapathy Pillars and aGopuram at the entrance, all completely built in granite, following the classic customs of old Indian temples and enhancing and complementing the architectural magnificence of our main temple. The granite brings in the splendor and majestic elegance of our historic temple traditions, while the skylights allow openness and a fabulous view of the pristine Vimanam from inside the hall, thus blending centuries old antiquity with modernity of the twenty-first century America.
The temple organization remains enormously proud and honorably privileged to invite the entire Houston community to come and be part of the momentous event.
PEARLAND: Sri Meenakshi Temple is celebrating the renovation of its original Ganesh Temple with the newly constructed granite sanctum and facility. As dictated by the traditional religious mores of ‘Agama Sastras’, consecration and sanctification of the new ‘Sannidhi’ will be dedicated through the ritualistic grandeur of the Kumbabhishekam. The festivities are planned through a week of elaborate religious observance from November 22, with the grand finale on Friday, the 29.