The Sri Balaji temple of Gaborone, Botswana has become an epicentre of Lord Venkateswara worship for Indo-Africans, who observe pilgrimage as one would to Tirumala in India. In 2000, the inspiration of building a Hindu temple to Lord Balaji dawned upon some devotees. The aim was to give ardent devotees of Lord Venkateswara a place to converge in dedicated worship just like the very same invigorating spiritual fervour that one experiences in India.
The “Botswana Hindu Charities Trust” (BHCT) was founded and the trustees applied for allocation of land. The Government of Botswana allocated a stretch of land measuring over 7000 square metres in an area known as ‘Block 8 Gaborone.’ The dream had begun, donations poured in from tiny to generous and the plot was secured with a wire fence. An ‘Action Committee’ was formed to plan and implement the project with the initial plan of the Sri Balaji temple, also known as Tirupati Botswana. Padmashri Muttiah Stapathi from Chennai has been instrumental in constructing around 14 temples including temples in the United States of America was hauled in to design the Sri Balaji temple.
Later Shri. P.K.Valasingham and his team arrived in Botswana to construct the temple.
Installation of other deities
Prior to the launch of the project, some senior members of the Hindu community in Botswana suggested that considering the small size of the community, it would be better to install the other deities also in the temple in addition to Balaji and his consorts.
The original drawings of the Balaji Temple were altered to suit the new additional deities at the Hindu Temple. It was decided to have along with Balaji and his consorts, the other deities Swami Ayyappa, Lord Muruga, Mahadev Shiva, and Mata Rani Vaishnodevi. A Maha mandap which was originally planned to be an open mandap was accordingly altered to suit the new design. Later, sanctum sanctorum for Lord Ganesha and Hanuman was also added to the project along with Navagrahas. With these additions, it was felt that the project would cater to the needs of various groups in the Hindu community.
Provisioning of a hall, community kitchen and construction of Raja Gopuram were initially deferred to a later date and the construction of Priest quarters and ablution block were considered. It took nearly 7 years to bring the dream to reality.
Architecture of the Temple
The temple has been constructed using the classical South Indian architectural style, which is prevalent in southern part of India for centuries.
The Kumbhabhishekam of this temple has been performed on Sunday 16th September 2007. There were ten Kalasams installed and ten priests from India, Dubai and Gaborone were performing all related poojas. First Shri. Varatharaja Bhatter performed the abhisheka for the five Kalasams atop of the Raja Gopuram. A crane was used since the Raja Gopuram was about 50 feet tall.
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