Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world tracing its origin to the Indus Valley civilization. With a history of 4000 years, the basic premise of this religion has always been to seek knowledge. Hence even saints and sages in ancient India were scientists and were highly revered.
In the modern world, Hinduism is the third largest religion and there are many Hindu temples across the globe. Many of the Hindu temples are located abroad and the Malibu Hindu Temple is one of the famous temples located in California.
The Malibu Hindu temple is one of the largest temples in the Western Hemisphere dedicated to Lord Venkateswara and was built in 1981. It is located in the Calabasas city, California in the Santa Monica Mountains. Built in the traditional South Indian style this temple is visited by many Hindu followers residing in the United States.
The priests of this temple reside within the temple grounds and conduct many programs and activities. The facility also has space for meditation and a full stage to conduct many special cultural programs. The temple architecture mimics the style of the Chola dynasty (AD 900-1100) who were renowned temple builders in South India. The temples built by them stand to this day.
Features of the temple
The temple has two complexes with the upper complex dedicated to Lord Venkateswara and the lower complex dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built by Indian craftsmen known as shilpis it has taken 7 years to finish the construction.
The brick walls of this temple are covered with elaborate designs of lions, elephants, dragons and lotus blossoms. The Hindu Gods and Goddesses are carved on the nine domed towers. The idols enshrined in the temple were imported all the way from India and installed lovingly by temple priests after much rituals and fanfare. The flooring of the temple is in marble.
This beautiful edifice took more than 3 million dollars to build and was financed by the State Bank of India and other members of the Hindu Community. It is constructed over 13000 square feet of land and consists of a central meditation hall and a multipurpose auditorium. This temple is built in Dravidian architecture.
There is a kitchen in the basement of the temple that serves freshly prepared vegetarian meals to one and all during the weekends along with the famous Indian tea called Chai and is run by volunteers only. The temple is open to visitors across all faiths and religions and there is no entry fee. Donations are given at the discretion of the visitor and are highly appreciated but not mandatory.
There is also an outdoor deck that enshrines idols of various gods and goddesses individually, and an elevated temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara only.
This beautiful temple has also been featured in the Bollywood movie Jeans and the Hollywood movie Beverly Hills Ninja.
Timings of the temple
The temple is open throughout the year but the timings change according to the seasons. During weekdays in summer the temple is open from 9 AM to 12:30 noon and from 5 PM to 8 PM in the evenings. During winter the temple is open from 9 AM to 12:30 noon and from 5 PM to 7 PM in the evenings.
During weekends and holidays, the temple is open from 8 AM to 8 PM in the summer and winter seasons.
Timeline of the temple
The temple was designed by the prominent architect S.M. Ganapathi who has experience designing traditional temples in South India. He also selected the artisans and the craftsmen from South India to sculpt the walls and pillars of this sacred temple.
The temple is designed according to religious scriptures dating back to the 10th century. He teamed up with Mr Vasan Srinivasan who is a civil engineer and built this temple. Mr Srinivasan was residing in Los Angeles at the time and was instrumental in collecting funds from local families, overseeing the construction and bringing the priests from South India.
The temple stands out because of its dedication to Lord Venkateswara and follows the strict rules and guidelines involved in performing rituals of the God. The priests who have come from South India worked in famous and traditional temples there before working here.
Activities of the priests in the Hindu Temple
The pious temple gazes at the city and is unperturbed by the daily humdrum of city life. Even the priests there rarely venture outside the temple grounds and are quite content in their service of the lord.
The priests of this temple come from a family of priests and are the continuation of their family tradition. Their day usually starts from 6 AM and continues well into the night. Performing elaborate rituals, puja and offering to the god is part of their daily routine.
Mr Narasimha Bhattar used to be the chief temple priest of this temple and retired from his post in the year 2020 after serving the Lord for 36 years. Prior to working here he used to work at the Sri Rangam temple and will be returning there soon.
The temple is open to people of all faiths and views, and no one is barred from entering the temple during its operational hours. Shoes are forbidden within the temple complex and visitors are asked to leave their footwear at the entrance of the temple.
The dress code of business casual for both men and women is preferred. Smoking and consumption of alcohol are strictly prohibited. Non vegetarian food and egg products are not allowed on the premises of the temple. Milk and milk products are allowed, so if visitors want to offer any milk or milk products to the deities they will be accepted by the priests.
Archana, Pooja or Abhishek will not be performed without a ticket. All tickets need to be purchased from the temple office. For services that need to be conducted outside the temple premises, the temple manager needs to be contacted for the same.
Services offered by the temple
Visitors can perform Archana, Puja and Abhishek by purchasing the respective tickets from the temple office during the operational hours. The priests will perform these rituals after receiving the ticket. In addition to this, they also conduct different homas regularly according to the Hindu calendar.
The temple also conducts other ceremonies like marriages, upanayana ceremony (mundan ceremony), house warming ceremony, 60th and 80th birthday puja and final rites as well. All these services except for the house warming ceremony will be conducted in the temple complex and speaking with the temple authorities to iron out the details is a must.
Visitors can also ask the temple authorities to conduct powerful homas in their names like Chandi Homa, Navagraha Homa, Dhanvantri Homa, etc.
How to reach the temple
The temple is located at 1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302, USA and has many public buses, subways and taxis plying through this area. There is good connectivity around this temple and its spires and towers are easily visible from a distance as they are very different from the regular architecture usually seen inside the city.
If travelling by road visitors need to take the N1 road to get to the temple and it is easily visible from a distance. It is also a famous landmark so travelling to the temple won’t be a problem.
Facilities around the temple
There are many hotels and restaurants around the Malibu Hindu Temple. Comfortable and affordable hotels like the Anza Hotel, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and the Hampton Inn & Suites are located close to the temple. They provide services like complimentary breakfast, Free Wi-Fi and swimming pool facilities.
Visitors who are coming from out of state to visit the temple can plan accordingly and stay in one of these hotels.
The Malibu Hindu temple was constructed to last for many generations and is a place of worship for the many Hindus residing in the United States. The priests were brought from the temples in India so that this temple can stay true to all the rituals performed and keep up with the same vigour.
This temple displays the Hindu cultures and traditions and pays homage to the great craftsmen in India. Looking at the temple, visitors often marvel at the sculptures and etchings on the pillars and ceiling and are immediately transported back to Ancient India. The Chola dynasty was a powerful dynasty who were also amazing architects and built many monuments that have withstood the test of time. This temple gives the visitors a glimpse of their might. This is all about Malibu Hindu Temple: Timing, Weeding & Services.
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