I visited the temple is comprised of two buildings, one is a traditional temple and the other is a community hall that has a capacity of up to 300 people. Its beautiful architectural style belongs to Chola, and Pallave dynasty period, the design seemed like it took a lot of hard work and dedication to complete it and make the place have a beautiful design looking the way it is now. I decided to visit a Hindu temple out of curiosity because the Hindu religion is one the religion that I knew the least about and am also interested in the Hindu religion.
The Hindu religion and culture is a very complex subject. The religion combines rich and ethnical and standard beliefs. When I visited the temple I was given the opportunity to learn more about the religion and what their worship services and their rituals are all about.
The belief in Shiva Vishnu Temple is that the Hindu religion is not a single unified religion and has no founder; the temple also believes that the religion does not have a single teacher, or prophets.
The Shiva Vishnu also believes in a universal God known as Brahman just as its parent group of the Hinduism. I noticed that in the temple, they worship the universal soul in many different forms including the complementary attributes of male and female deities, both in human and animal forms. The temple also represented the universal soul in three forms, as the creator of the universe, Vishnu its preserver and Shiva its destroyer.
I found out they actually believe that the soul is immortal and when the body dies, it migrates to a new life on earth and that the life they are living is as a result of karma from their past life.
South Florida is a place where a lot of people in their hundreds come together to have collective prayers every Sunday morning. The temple in South Florida serves as an all-inclusive culture and celebrates festivals from all parts of India. The temple values education besides its architectural beauty. Children come here since it is the most appropriate environment for learning all the values and principles of Sanatan Dharma. The temple is located away from the city, far away from the hustle and bustle that comes with the city life. With the serene environment multiple acres of flat green land, the temple is a perfect place for an outdoor event. The place is also perfect for a wedding ceremony in the back hall that is just behind the main temple. The venue is ideal for any religious ceremony with the perfect location off sawgrass.
On entering the temple, one could not help but notice the shrine that had murtis, this is an image of Hindu deities, and the murtis is dedicated to the shrines. Murtis I came to learn that they reflect bhakti, or devotional, school of Hinduism. Also, the most colorful process that one notices when they visit the temple is the observation of rituals, or pujas as they are better known. Pujas represent offerings to the divine. I learnt that most of the times, the rituals symbolizes the relationship between the universal soul and the individual showing the presence of Brahman in the believers heart. The interior of the temple is magnificent with marble floors and 14 individual crème with colored shrines that is dedicated to varying Hindu gods, with the Shiva and Vishnu’s shrine being the most prominent. I noticed the list of enshrined gods: Murugam, Shiva, Vishnu, Ayyappa, Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Andal, Kamakshi, Uthsava Murthis, and Navagrahas.
Hindu dressing is distinct from other religions from its members to the clergy. Dresses have a religious as well as aesthetic importance in the religion. Some of the clothing I noticed during my visit at the temple is the clergyman who was dressed in a customary danda. Married man came to the temple dressed in traditional white cotton that is well known as dhoti. The married man would wear a cut shirt called a kurta on top, and men came to the temple wearing a chaddar which is wrapped around the shoulder when it is cold and when the weather is warm, the chaddar is folded over the shoulder. The Hindu ladies would come to the temple dressed in a sari which is commonly used in India. There was also a Punjabi woman who was dressed in the salwarkameez, this kind of clothing consisted of a tunic and a shawl is used to cover the head and shoulders.
The ritual world of Hinduism is what is completely different with the rest of regions, villages, and individuals. I observed that after the meal in the temple, members may set aside a handful of the meal so that it can be donated to the beggars and the needy. They also donate daily gifts of small amounts of grain to birds or any other animals, this serves as a merit in their self-sacrifice. In the temple, the worshippers tend to concentrate their prayers on one deity or on a small group of the common deities with whom they share a close personal relationship. The temple also conducts puja, the worship of the gods that consists of a range of ritual offerings and prayers that are conducted either on a daily basis or on a special day, this is before an image of the deity. Deity was in form of a symbol of the sacred presence.
It is said that the Hindus have holidays in every day of the year, but that is an understatement because Hindu celebrate many festivals. One of the major festivals celebrated in Shiva Vishnu is the Diwali; this is the Hindu festival of lights that lasts for five days. For a majority of Hindus even in South Florida, Diwali is also a New Year’s Eve. The festival is held once on the final day of the Hindus Calendar. I also observed that Hindu in Shiva Vishnu had an annual festival called Holi; this is celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna. It commemorates various events. The temple also had a festival called Mahashivaratri better known as Shiva Ratri, this is the great festival of Shiva and is held on the 14th day of the dark half of the lunar month of Phalguna (early March). It is celebrated by most of Hindus.
When I visited the temple, I always felt welcomed by the priests and the people that were worshipping at the temple. As I have begun to be curious about the Hindu religion, I am very fortunate to have visited the temple in South Florida and have the opportunity to learn about the religion. The temple has to be a favorite for most of the Hindus in South Florida. As the name suggests, the temple is fully dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu and so the Shaivities and Vaishnavities can feel welcomed to worship at the temple. However, at the entrance, there is a notice for newcomers to remove their shoes and leave them behind; I was a bit uncomfortable with walking barefooted since I left the shoes outside. The temple does not allow people to take photographs and it became hard for me to document any beautiful scenery inside the temple.