I am sure you get the vibe from my blog that I am not a very religious person but I do enjoy going to the temple occasionally. My husband always reminds me how religious my mum is and he finds it a bit surprising that I am not like my mum in the religion department. I always tell him, “If I have a clean heart and make sure that I am not hurting anyone in my day to day life, God will consider me as a good citizen and will be happy with me. There is no need to really visit a temple all the time or pray for hours :)”.
There are not that many Hindu temples in Sydney and most of them are not close to where I live so planning is required to visit one.
From time to time I feel like I should go to the temple and pay my respect so I drag my husband along for some prayer. Last weekend we managed to go to a temple in Helensburgh called Sri Venkateswara Temple. It is around 45 minutes’ drive from my apartment or an hour from Sydney city center (55km). The temple is built on top of a hilly area 400 feet above sea level. It has four ‘praharam’ (encircling corridors). Sri Venkateswara Temple was built in 1978 by the Indian people in Australia as a South Indian-style Hindu temple.
So far there is no Nepali temple in Sydney but they are planning to build a version of Nepal’s famous Pashupathi in Sydney.
At the temple devotees are supposed to leave their footwear outside and wash their hands and feet before they enter the temple. The temple area inside has small shrines for each of the Gods. There are priests performing rituals at each of the shrines at a pre-determined time.
There is a temple counter inside which provides visitors with more information about temple rituals and prayers. They also sell puja for $15 which goes towards maintenance of the temple. You get a plate of puja which has Sindoor, flowers, dhup and fruits. Also, you can buy diyo (oil lamp) if you want to light just the diyo.
The temple has deities like Lord Venkateswara, Goddess Mahalakshmi ,Lord Chandramouleeswarar, Goddess Thripurasundari , Lord Ganesh, Lord Subrahmanya , Lord Navagraha, Goddess Durgambika , Lord Rama , Goddess Andal , Lord Krishna, Lord Brahma , Lord Hanuman, Lord Garuda , Lord Sudharsana , Lord Viswakshena , Lord Dhakshinamurthy and Lord Chandikesa.
I have seen lots of South Indian weddings being performed inside the temple in my previous visits.
I know it doesn’t sound so right but I love to go to this temple because they serve a great Indian food in their canteen during weekends. I always have Masala Dosa (made by stuffing a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices in a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils) and Vada (a donut shaped dish made from lentils and gram flour or potato) . They are so cheap but so yummy. They do sell other South Indian vegetarian dishes as well but those two are my favourite especially with masala tea (spiced Indian style milk tea).
The temple opens 8am – 7pm, week-ends and public holidays; 8.00am to 12.00pm and 4.00pm to 7.00pm on weekdays.