About Us

Welcome to Our Site

Welcome to the website of the Vishnu Shiva Mandir & Library, located in Mawson, a suburb of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Mandir is operated by the Mandir Society of Australia Incorporated, a not-for-profit society incorporated in 1989. The society had existed informally since 1979 and resolved to build a Mandir in 1986.

The Mandir is for people to pray, meditate and perform community activities, as well as hosting a public library focusing on South Asian literature and culture.

The picturesque national capital of Australia is bestowed with serenity and divinity by the Vishnu Shiva Mandir.  Founded in the true traditions of ancient Shaiva and Vaishnava agama (traditions), this holy shrine stands as a beacon of Hindu religion, spreading the messages of Bhakti (devotion) and Vedanta (Hindu philosophy).

 

Vishnu Shiva Mandir Canberra

Our Team

Niranjan Aggarwal

Trustee

Thamo Sritharan

President

Lakshman Prasad

Vice President

Pt Pradeep Bhat

Priest

Rainbow

Our HistroySummary of our community from the beginning

August 1979

The history of this Mandir began in August 1979 when soon after our move from Sydney to Canberra, four families - Mr & Mrs N Chaudhary, Mr & Mrs S Jalota, the Late Mrs S Mahanty and ourselves decided to hold a puja to celebrate the Janam Ashtami (Birthday of Lord Krishna) at one home together. Accepting the generous offer of Mr and Mrs Jalota, the puja was held at their home in Evatt. The puja was satisfying to all those present and after that we started to hold monthly pujas.

October 1986

By 1986, the Canberra Hindu community started showing considerable religious devotion. At Dussehra Puja in 1986, the gathering made a sacred sankalpa (resolution) to build a Mandir. However God has His own ways. Soon after that, a separate organisation Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre was formed.

December 1991

I went to India in 1991 as my mother fell sick. This put me in contact with Sri Sampath (PA to then PM) and Sri I S N Sharma IPS Chief Security Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). Mi Sampath insisted that he had made all arrangements and that I should go for the Darshan of Lord Venkateshwar to Tirumala (Tirupati). I had not planned this visit and hence was reluctant. However, I went to Tirupati and Sri Sharma told me to go and have the Darshan of the Lord, for as long as I wished - usually devotees are pushed to move after a few seconds. I will never forget that Darshan of the Lord. I stood before Him for some 20 minutes. I had to move away only because my forehead was burning - probably due to microwave energy that I received from Him. However before I moved away I asked Him, "Will you grant us the boon of coming to live in Canberra?" To my surprise I saw the head of the Lord shaking telling me "YES", "YES". To me personally that was a point of no return.

November 1992

Sri Satyaraju also consented to send Foundation Stones. He told us that he personally looked around for suitable foundation stones in Tirumala Hills till he found five stones with a Cobra (Shesh Nag) around them. Hearing the noises, the cobra slithered away. He picked up these stones and put them at the feet of Lord Venkateshwar at Tirumala (Tirupati). After the stones had been blessed he air-freighted them so as to reach Canberra only a day before the ceremony. Another set of stones was picked up from the shores of the Holy Ganges and were duly blessed by Swami Bhuteshanandaji Maharaj, President of Rama Krishna Math at Bhuvaneswar Calcutta and other Swamijis. These holy stones were brought to Canberra by Swami Damodranandaji Maharaj of Ramakrishna Mission Fiji personally, who laid the Foundation Stones of the Mandir and Vedant Hall on 29 November 1992. The Vedic ceremonies were performed by Sri Rishikesh Bhatthar and other priests. Having thus laid the Foundation Stones according to Hindu Agmas, the more difficult task of clearing the land begun. But events that followed have proved that the spiritual forces are far stronger than materialistic ones. The building design, plans and construction were all carried out without a big bank balance and without proper plans. No wonder the approved plans were amended seven times, mostly adding the facilities and making the Mandir bigger. For example, initially only to reduce construction costs, we intended to include ablution facilities within the Mandir roof line with external entrance. This was changed to a separate ablutions block, which was later increased to include three rooms and the Vedant Hall.

November 1994

Nothing happened for some nine months. The construction work recommenced on 15 August 1994 and the Mandir Building was opened on 27 November 1994 by Mr Bill Wood, then ACT Minister for Land, Environment Planning. The spiritual occasional discourse was given by Rev. Gopeshawari Devi. Since that day the Mandir has been opened every Sunday and on all auspicious days. The devotional pujas performed by Sri L Prasad, Sri Mani and Sri K Venkatraman have been greatly appreciated.

June 1997

After our first letter dated 22 March 1996 and the follow-up, the Prime Minister Hon. John Howard agreed on 22 August 1996 to open the Mandir at a mutually convenient date. On 29 April 1997 the PM's office informed us that he would be delighted to open the Mandir on 1 June 1997 and no other date is available for another six months. This short notice for the opening is our excuse for any deficiencies that might be experienced or noted today. Thus the long series of hurdles that have been overcome in the completion of this Mandir has really been built by our Gods, for our benefit. In the interest of brevity, a number of details have been omitted from the above synopsis. We will be happy to provide the details to an interested historian. May the gods living in the Mandir continue their blessings on the Mandir and all of us. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam (Consecration ceremony) of this Mandir was conducted by the renowned Agama Pandit Dr. T. S. Sambamurthi Sivachariar on 1 June 1997. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam ceremony, which was publicised in the national and international media, was conducted in the presence of the Hon. John Howard MP, the Prime Minister of Australia.

April 1980

The first puja was to celebrate Baisakhi (New Year's Day) on 13 April 1980 in Sterling College. This was reported in the Canberra Times, due to the courtesy of Ms Rama Gaind. Monthly pujas continued to be held regularly. From September 1980, we started celebrating Navratre twice a year, as well as all the major Hindu festivals.

December 1987

A sacred Sankalpa has its own strength as it is reinforced by God's own will. His will put the ideas in our heads and made us act. An application for land was filed with the ACT Government in 1987. The prevailing laws of the ACT Government required that the Mandir Society had to be incorporated with a constitution. Again God has His own ways. An Executive Committee comprising of Sri Siva, Sri Kanthigesar and Sri A Bhardwaj and myself was formed and an application lodged for incorporation. The Society was incorporated and the constitution was adopted. Having thus met all the requirements of the ACT Government, the Government agreed to grant a lease of land at Mawson. However we were still not fully decided that we wanted to really go ahead.

October 1992

In October 1992 Swami Gahanananda, Vice President and Swami Damodrananda of Ramakrishna Mission visited Canberra. It was our privilege to offer our home to them. This gave me the opportunity of obtaining spiritual strength from them. Having approached Lord Venkateswar, I was convinced 99% that God was leading us. However, 1% doubt lingered in my mind. Swami Gahananandaji gave a very inspiring discourse at the Belconnen Library. That discourse was another turning point. On returning home, I requested Swamiji that I needed their help. Swamiji in a divine manner told me to wait till 10 AM next day. At the appointed time, I sat at Swamiji's feet and told Swamiji of the mysterious force that was pushing me towards building a Mandir and Vedant Hall, even though the source of money was still unknown. Both Swamijis meditated and finally directed me to go ahead and be guided by God. To cut the long story short, the ACT Government signed the lease for the Mawson land. Mr Satyaraju, IAS Commissioner Endowments Department Andhra Pradesh Government agreed and the Departmental Sthapati Sri Perumal provided us the detailed design for the Mandir.

November 1993

We had learnt that Jehovah's Witnesses built their Kingdom Halls in a miraculous manner in a matter of days, using voluntary labour. We decided to try that method. To our surprise, one kind-hearted plant operator agreed to borrow an excavator from his friend and levelled the entire land in two days time. That was another turning point. A very large number of individuals assisted in completing this Mandir. The list is very long. The Mandir would not have been completed without them. They are angels who helped in building the God\\\'s abodes. The floor stage was completed "Braham Shila" laid in November 1993 by Mr Bob McMullen, then Federal Minister for Trade.

March 1997

After completing the Mandir, we needed to build concrete decorations, as earlier planned. The selected Sthapati Rajagopalan could not speak English. He decided to involve an English speaking manager. The workers arrived in Canberra on 22 January 1996 and work continued satisfactorily only so long as the Sthapati was in Canberra. The construction phase of the work and the situation became intolerable after his departure from Canberra. Hence the workers returned to India on 10 November 1996. Mrs R Sharma and the managing committee provided invaluable support during this difficult period. We contacted Sthapati Sri Nagarajanl, whom I had Contacted previously also. He Came to Canberra in January l997 and agreed to complete the Mandir work subject to a number of changes. A new set of workers reached Canberra on 8 March 1997. The completion of the Mandir is only due to the hard work of Sthapathi Baskaran and his team - S Kuruppiah, Ramados and Bhoominathan.

Narration by Sri Niranjan Aggarwal, Trustee of the Mandir Society of Australia