The Legend Of Tirupati Botswana

In the heart of Africa, a Hindu temple which has now become the epicenter for Indo-Africans to observe pilgrimage as one would to Tirupati.

Lord Balaji : Balaji Temple, Gaborone, Botswana
Lord Balaji : Balaji Temple, Gaborone, Botswana

During the year 2000, the inspiration of building a Hindu temple to Lord Balaji dawned upon some devotees so that ardent devotees of Lord Venketeswara could converge to a dedicated place of worship with the very same invigorating spiritual fervor that one finds at Tirupati, India.

At that moment a trust by the name “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. Mr. Muthiah Sthapathi, a renowned temple architect was contacted to provide Temple drawings. A basic drawing was devised and the Project was formally launched on 27th May 2001.

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 were also added to the project along with Navagrahas.

With these additions, it was felt that the project would cater for 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. This Hindu temple is a unique construction that in the Southern African region, became a cultural attraction in Gaborone, Botswana

The initial plan was designed by Padmashri Muttiah Stapathi from Chennai, who has been instrumental in constructing around 14 temples including temples in United States of America. Later Shri. P.K.Valasingham and his team arrived in Botswana to construct the temple.

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 abishekam 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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About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

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