My wife and I visited the temple last Saturday, as we have been doing every Saturday for the last two years. As we arrived, the sun was beautifully shining on the temple, revealing in greater detail than ever before the details of this masterpiece built following the true traditions of the Chola dynasty. We paused for a moment and acknowledged all the founders of this temple for their vision and the legacy that they left behind. This iconic temple will survive multiple generations and will impact millions of people in many, many years to come.
I want the community to rest assured knowing that Lord Venkateswara in the Malibu Hindu Temple’s main complex and Lord Shiva, along with all the other gods in the temple, are being attended to spiritually. The priests—Narasimha Bhattar, Krishnamacharyulu, Prasad, Prasanna Kumar, and Bharani Rajan—have all done their part to care for all of the gods. Mr. Raghavapillai Manavalan (Manager of the temple), and Srimathi Samudrala (Office Staff of the temple), have been hard at work to ensure that the temple will be ready to welcome devotees in the near future. We are eager to reopen the temple as soon as circumstances permit.
Many of the devotees have asked me questions, and I wish to collectively share with all of you the answers to these frequently asked questions:
When will the temple reopen?
President Donald Trump announced this past Sunday, March 29, 2020, that the guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the federal government regarding social distancing will be in place until April 30, 2020. We expect that the Mayor of Los Angeles will follow suit. Based on this information, we do not expect the Temple will reopen prior to April 30, 2020. We will keep you updated on the timeline. Please continue to check our website: www.malibuhindutemple.org for more updates
Is the temple following all the rituals even during the time it’s closed to the public?
I would like to assure all the devotees that all the necessary rituals are being performed and will continue to be performed very religiously. In addition, the temple premises are being cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, and we will be ready to reopen the Temple as soon as it is safe to do so.
Is the temple offering services where priests can go outside the temple premises to other locations such as a residence to perform religious rituals and services?
The temple will, on a case-by-case basis, continue to make the priests available for events that cannot be postponed either because of the nature of the event or the nature of the circumstances. In all cases, we are ensuring the health and well-being of all the priests, as well as that of the devotees. To this end, we sincerely request the devotees not to request services for events involving 10 or more people. For all events, there should be a guaranteed 6 ft. distance between all of those in attendance. Those who are 65 years or older, and those with underlying conditions, should not be present at these events.
Is the temple able to stream religious ceremonies & services online?
We regret that we are presently unable to livestream the religious services online. Due to the location of the temple, there are currently no service providers who can readily provide internet service to the temple. As part of its infrastructure improvements, we have been working to address this issue for the past year. We were able to finally sign a contract with AT&T to bring a special fiber optics line that will provide internet service for the temple. We are happy to say that we may be able to stream the services very soon. Please pray along with me that this will happen. Once this installation is complete, we will be able to livestream the religious services online.
How can we donate to the temple at a difficult time like this?
We are surprised and humbled by the number of people who have reached out to us. We appreciate that people recognize that the temporary closure of the temple has resulted in loss of revenue similar to all other religious institutions. We are now setting up a fund entitled the “Malibu Hindu Temple Coronavirus Relief Fund” to receive donations. We are setting up an online procedure that will be outlined in the next few days. As the General Counsel of the temple, I wish to assure all of the donors that the funds donated will be responsibly spent for Temple purposes only, including direly needed infrastructures improvements, and will be fully accounted for. I have set very high standards for the accountability of all funds received by the temple, and I have dealt with the finances of the temple with utmost integrity. I have set up procedures to demand the same level of accountability from each of the employees, including the priests. As soon as this fund is set up, I will donate $10,000.00 USD to the fund to begin our fundraising drive.
The Malibu Hindu Temple is keeping all of you in our thoughts as we collectively deal with the corona virus, which has led to catastrophic consequences. We invoke Lord Venkateswara, the presiding deity of the temple, and Lord Shiva, to give us the strength to deal with this extraordinary situation. We thank you for your support and assure you that the Malibu Hindu Temple will emerge from this stronger than ever before. The iconic temple will continue to inspire all of us to bring out the best in ourselves in serving our community and the world at large.
Nadadur S. Kumar
General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer
Hindu Temple Society of Southern California