The beginning of my Sanātana Yatra

The beginning of my Sanātana Yatra

Bharat is the land of diversity in every respect and a land second to none in its own unique way. Bharat has contributed to humanity for eons and we will continue to do so for centuries to come. Our culture was, is, and always will be our invisible backbone which will continue to throttle us in this ever-changing world. The protection of this ancient and complex culture cannot be done by one individual or organization. This will have to be through the combined effort of our people and the continuous evolution of ideas. As children of this land, it is our duty to do our part to preserve our culture for future generations. Bharat’s temples have been the pillars of strength that protected, evolved, and flourished our culture. Saving temples is one way (among countless others) to preserve our culture.
మీకో విషయం తెలుసా అండి ? నూతన ఆలయం నిర్మించడం కన్నా, పురాతన ఆలయ జీర్ణోద్ధారణ చేయడంవలన 100 ఆలయాలు నిరించిన ఫలితం లభిస్తుంది అని స్కాంద పురాణంలో కాశీఖండం లో వ్యాసుడు చెప్పాడు Vyasa Maharshi
The above quote was stated by the great Vyasa Maharshi in the Kashi Khandam of the Skanda Purana. It states that the renovation of one ancient, ailing temple is multiple times more virtuous than constructing 100 new temples. Bharat is a country with countless temples. Every temple is special in its own way with a story behind it. A story that is meant to be told to our children and our children’s children. A story that doesn’t have to move mountains or sweep you off your feet, but rather inspires and gives you hope for the future. Here is a brief outline of my journey and what motivated me to start this effort to create a general encyclopedia of all Hindu temples in this world. I was blessed to have a normal middle-class upbringing in Kochi, India with my dad, a scientist at DRDO and my mother a homemaker. Through my childhood, my parents never tried to inculcate in me the ideas of Sanātana Dharma. As a typical kid growing up in the 90s, I was always waiting to reach the US and make a mark for myself. After my BTech, I worked for an IT company for about 2 years and then moved to the US in 2007 to pursue my MS. In the last 15 years, my curiosity & intrigue about Sanātana Dharma and the countless other ancient temples big and small has increased year after year. I owe a lot of this to my father who dedicated his time, post retirement to renovating two ancient temples in the village of Chitram, Andhra Pradesh. The temples are Janardhana Swamy Devasthanam & Malleswara Swamy Devasthanam, which are more than 265 years old. He started the project in 2008 at which point I requested him not to renovate these temples and instead just maintain them as is. When I visited India with my wife in 2014, my dad wanted us to see the dilapidated condition of these old temples. This was my first time taking my wife to my dad’s village. My dad specifically asked me not to get down at the train station nearest to our ancestral home. Instead, he asked us to get off the train at a station 50 km away from my ancestral home. And he advised me and my wife to use the public bus instead of an air-conditioned taxi to commute to Gudlavalleru village. We obliged and traveled the way he requested. By the time I came to our ancestral home, my mind had changed. I told my dad that I would support him on his mission to renovate the dilapidated temples. My mind was changed even before I saw the temples by the experiences we had on our way to our ancestral home on the train and bus.

Janardhana Swamy Temple in March 2014 Malleswara Swamy Temple in March 2014

These temples were under endowment control and my dad took 10 years (2008 to 2018) to finally undertake the renovation work. In these 10 years, multiple state governments changed, as well as the state being divided into two. After all these events, finally, in the summer of 2018, work started. The old temple structures were removed and new temple structures were constructed. Between August 2018 and February 2020, a lot of work was done at ground level to manage the reconstruction of these temples. By March of 2020, just before the pandemic-related lockdowns were put in place, the consecration of both temples was completed by the grace of the Almighty! Around 2000 people attended this consecration event. Here is a brief video of the entire journey of the temples from the dilapidated condition to the present-day condition.

YouTube Video of Chitram Temples

As of March 2020, my parents were in the village until January 2022 in order to complete the remaining temple activities. Unfortunately, my dad passed away in April 2022, leaving a big void in our family. My effort here with Sanātan Yatri is a dedication to my dad’s relentless pursuit to renovate these old temples against all odds. As I researched more & more, a significant majority of Hindu temples around the world do not have an online presence. In the past, there have been many efforts to have a directory of all temples. However, none have been successful so far in documenting the 3 million + Hindu temples in the world. This is my humble attempt to do the impossible by having a platform where information is crowd-sourced by the people of Sanātana Dharma and for the people of Sanātana Dharma.

Drone shot of the renovated temples in 2021 The last photo of my dad & mom together – April 2022

Please join me in this humble attempt and be part of history in creating the world’s most comprehensive directory of all Hindu temples.
  • Ram Seethepalli

    Ram Seethepalli

    January 5, 2023

    Beautiful blog and story. Well done!!! Nice to see the origin story of sanatan yatra. Looking forward to reading more blogs like this. Would love to learn more about the history of these two temples.

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