Special New Year’s Day Prayers held in many places of Worship
Auckland, January 1, 2022
Hundreds of people from Auckland and other parts of the country have been visiting the Karpaga Vinayakar (Lord Ganesha) Temple in the South Auckland suburb of Papakura since Thursday, December 30, 2021 with the start of the Annual Mahotsavam Festival.
Auckland and many other parts of the country moved to the ‘Orange’ setting under the Traffic Lights System of the Covid-19 Protection Framework on December 31, 2021 ending more than 135 days of the border closure.
The Temple’s Chief Priest Parameswaran (Chandru) said that the 14-day Annual Mahotsavam has been witnessing a host of activities every morning and evening. The proceedings will continue until their conclusion on Saturday, January 12, 2022, he said.
“2021 was a difficult year especially for Aucklanders with lockdown restrictions enforced due to the community spread of Covid-19. Therefore, most of the Hindu festivals including Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri and Deepavali could not be celebrated. Along with other establishments, our Temple was also closed for 107 days when Lockdown Level 4 was enforced by the government. The Mahotsavam is therefore experiencing an increasing number of people every day but we are following the rules strictly,” he said.
The Main Deity
The Temple’s Main Deity, Karpaga Vinayagar (Lord Ganesha) is worshipped as ‘The Remover of All Obstacles,’ and as the ‘God of Initiation’ by Hindus all over the world for thousands of years. His Idol is, therefore, the centre of prayers for devotees as Chandru and his Assistant Priest Vasudeva Sarma conduct elaborate Rituals and Poojas, invoking the Blessings of the Lord.
They and the devotees are fortunate to have the cooperation and organisational excellence of the Temple Trustees and scores of volunteers.
“Although Auckland is now in Orange setting with no restrictions on the number of people gathering at places of worship provided everyone is fully vaccinated, our Trustees are keen that we observe Covid-19 health regulations and follow strict codes of public health and hygiene. We therefore request all our devotees, volunteers and guests to cooperate with us, ensure that they carry a valid Vaccination Certificate or Vaccine Pass and make the Festival successful, meaningful, achieving the objective of bringing the Blessings of Lord Ganesha,” he said.
The Early Rituals
The ceremonies commenced on Thursday, December 30, 2021 with an Invocative Prayer, followed by the ‘Kodiyettram’ (Flag Hoisting) Ceremony on December 31, 2021.
Among the highlights of the 14-day event are Nithya Pooja, Vasantha Mandapa Pooja, Sthamba Pooja, Yoga Darshanam, Navakalasa Abhishekam, Mambazha Thiruvizha, Vettai Thiruvizha and Prayers to other Deities in the Temple.
The ‘Theradi Thiruvizha,’ (Ratham or Chariot Festival) will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2022.
Daily Prayers will be followed by Maha Prasadam.
The ‘Theertha Utsavam’ is a grand festival in Pillayar Patti held on the tenth day of Ganesh Chaturthi and other major festivals. The Festival is held at the pond near the Temple, with the Utsava Murthy bathed, decorated and returned to the Temple in a procession.
The Festival at the Papakura Temple in South Auckland will be a ‘limited version,’ and will be held in a small pool within the Temple Complex. Devotees will not be allowed to bathe in the pool but may sprinkle water on themselves.
The daily Morning events are held from 9 am and 1 pm and the evening programme is from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam
New Year festivities are being held at Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam located at 69 Tidel Road in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere.
The events began on December 30 with special prayers. The event today (January 1, 2022) began with ‘Alangara Dharisanam’ performed on Lord Murugan (Thiru Subramaniyar) the Main Deity, known as the ‘Tamil God.’
This was followed by Special Archanai and Aarathi to all the Deities.
The event programme included Nithya Pooja, Maha Deeparadhanai and other rites.
Founder-Trustee and current Treasurer of the New Zealand Hindu Temple Society Ilango Krishnamoorthy said that the Temple follows all the regulations in force and that only people who are fully vaccinated are allowed to enter the main Temple areas.
“Our Temple conducts all Poojas and Abhishekams for Murugan, Ganesha, Sivalingam, Venkateswara (Balaji), Aiyappan, Amman, Saraswathi, Anjaneya and the Navagrahas. Daily Aarathi is held at 11 am and 7 pm,” he said.
Mr Krishnamoorthy said that a weekly radio programme, conducted on Saturdays at 8.30 am on Planet FM 104.6 (in the name of ‘Aalayam’) covers slokas and spiritual discourses.
“We also conduct Cricket matches every week for the younger members of our community under the ‘ACS Sports Club’ banner. Language and Cultural Classes are conducted for children
On Saturdays from 3 pm to 4 pm. Our other activities include blood donation drive and community work,” Mr Krishnamoorthy said.