Opening of Shiv Temple in Kibigori in Kenya

DATE: 12th JULY- 15th JULY 2013


A grand temple for lord Shiva was inaugurated in the town of Kibigori near Kenya last week. The temple project initiated and carried out by Sri Kamal Shah and Vaishali Shah of Shrivedant Foundation stands as a shining jewel beckoning devotees from far and wide. The deities specially sculpted for the temple were crafted by master artisans from Jaipur in India and brought to Kenya. Overseeing all the arrangements, Vaishali Shah ensured that every aspect of the four day function went off smoothly with clock wise precision and all the requirements for the installation were thoroughly fulfilled. All the devotees from Kenya participated wholeheartedly as there was an open invitation for them to take part in the auspicious function and be blessed by lord Shiva.

An overwhelming three thousand people attended the festivities spread over four days. The installation ceremony and all the rituals were presided over by Acharya Yashwant Maharaj from Nairobi. He was ably assisted by a team of eleven purohits.

Earlier the inauguration of the Shiv temple at Kibigori got off to a colourful start with the Varghodo procession of all gods on the evening of 12th July. The festivities started at the Sanatan Temple with more than 700 people participating in the event. The well decorated deities were all brought with reverence and piety to the chanting of appropriate hymns from the showroom and this signalled the beginning of the Karma Kutir Puja. This Puja is performed to atone for any lapses that could have occurred while the idols were being sculpted and during the entire process of their creation. As the sculptors breathed life into the statues they could have given a degree of pain to the deities. The Puja is performed in this bhava seeking forgiveness of the all merciful gods. Statues of Ganapati, Parvati, Dattatrey, Ganga Ma, Shivalinga and Lord Hanuman were placed in their appropriate places and puja offered to them by going through the various rituals mentioned in our scriptures in a spirit of devotion and humility. The gods were then taken in a procession which passed many temples in Kisumu enroute like the Jalaram Temple and Brahma Samaj. It was a wonderful sight to see the idols wending their way till they reached the main venue to the accompaniment of bhajans which were rendered by enthusiastic performers from ISCKON and Sanatan Hindu Union Temple. After this Prasad was distributed to all the participants and it was indeed a lively start to the grand proceedings slated for the next three days.

The formal installation function began on the morning of 13th July with a grand puja to lord Ganesha, remover of obstacles . This was followed by puja to all other deities. These rituals were spread over the whole day. The sacrificial fire, a very important component in the Vedic rituals is accorded a prime position in all yagnas. Agni Sthapan, a special ritual invoking the fire god to ignite the sacrificial fire for various other rituals was the highlight of the day. This yagna ended with the traditional arati or waving of lights to all deities.

The next day the 14th of July began with a puja offered to lord Ganesh and other deities. The day began with the Sthapan vidhi where the gods were bathed by the assembled purohits or Vedic priests with waters of all the sacred rivers of India, flown specially for the occasion. Along with the waters, the deities were also bathed with other natural resources like grains, flowers, milk, honey etc. It was certainly a heavenly sight to see the deities dressed in finery with new clothes. They were then offered a special bed to repose which was decorated and filled with sweet scented flowers of every hue, grains, fruits along with soft pillows and silken drapes . This ritual known as Shayavidhi was observed with tenderness and love by the performer in a spirit of devotion. It being a Sunday, the event was well attended with all the dignitaries of the town present at the venue. Committee members of the Hindu Council of Kenya graced the occasion. Nitin Malde, the national secretary, Kamal Pattni, the national treasurer and committee members, Sathwinder Sian and Jayendra Malde were some of the prominent personalities from HCK to attend the event. Sri Bharat Bhai Thacker, Secretary of Shrivedant Foundation attended the function on two days along with his wife. Others who were present were Ramji Pandey of WHO, who is the pracharak of a Shaka in Nairobi, Radhupati Shetty, chairman of Swami Vivekananda 150th birth centenary committee in Nairobi, committee members of HCK, Kisumu branch, trustees of Hindu Sanatan Union, chairman of Visha Oshwal, ISKCON, Patel Samaj and many other office bearers of various communities. Sri Kamal Shah invited all the dignitaries to perform the yagna rituals themselves so that they could partake of the blessings directly.

The installation of the deities was held on the fourth day. Sri Kamal Shah and Vaishali Shah offered a seat of gold and placed all the deities there and performed the main puja to lord Shiva after formal installation. All the assembled devotees chanted the lord’s name continuously and offered prayers throughout the function thus conferring blessings on the family of Kamal Shah. Prasad was served from noon to evening on all the three days of the event. The temple, christened with a new name Kamleshwar Mahadev Shiv temple, adds another glorious chapter in the spiritual calendar of Kenya.