PEARLAND, Texas — Pearland is home to a major Hindu temple, the third oldest of its kind in the U.S., which just wrapped up a major festival.
The Meenakshi Temple attracts visitors from all over and KHOU 11's Shern-Min Chow paid the temple a visit in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Month.
The goddess Meenakshi is celebrated in a week and half long festival at the Pearland Temple which bears her name. On the biggest days in May, some 3,000 devotees attended. They came from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and California, often staying with friends and relatives.
“We had a lot of out towners stay the 10 days just to attend the festivities," Temple Director Ponni Sivaraman said.
“Hinduism believes in the Trinity. We believe in Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer of evil," Ponni explained.
Other deities, like Meenakshi the Warrior Goddess, are similar to patron saints in Christian religions, she explained. They oversee different areas from the arts to medicine to wealth.
All visitors are welcome at the Meenaskshi temple. There are just a few simple rules. Please keep shoulders and knees covered and leave shoes outside temple buildings.
Hemalathia Venkat, a temple administrator, explained there are nine priests who offer daily prayers and attend to various rituals. All live on the temple grounds. Hemalathia adds each corner of the main temple is dedicated to a different god.
There are smaller temples, an auditorium, a playground, and even a peacock sanctuary. Under the direction of Chairman Vinod Kaila, a major beautification project is about to being. It includes adding solar panels.
Civic service is also important, including scholarships, yoga, chess club, sports and more.
“Volleyball courts, basketball, cricket, you name it we have it," Ponni said.
The activities and the worship services are open to all.
“Come visit us and see the splendor and hospitality of our people," she said.