800 people celebrate shree GITA MANDIR MahotsavAT THE OPENING CEREMONY IN pietersburg, SOUTH AFRICA......
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on October 19, 2008


 Pietersburg - South Africa
 shree Gita Mandir Mahotsav
Nirvana - Pietersburg, South Africa
September 13-14th, 2008

Pietersburg traditionally and geographically is the gateway to the North.

During the days of apartheid (separate development), when people of colour required friends or family, to break their journey, on their travels , the Hindu community accommodated them. They did this with grace and devotion. This immense love and devotion to our culture was demonstrated again by the Hindu community at this Mahotsav.

The community during the forties and onwards, held prayers at their homes, and celebrated our religious festivals. Gujarati was taught by Shreemati Jayaben Jivrajbhai.

Sunday school was initially started by Shree Shashikantbhai D. Mistry and this was continued by Shree Jagjivanbhai Vithalbhai Mistry for almost twenty years to create an awareness of our Hindu religion and culture.

During the seventies, with the implementation of the Group Areas Act, people of colour were able to buy property for themselves and for religious institutions. Being only 5 families, our community was overlooked during the allocation of land for religious purposes, by the government. Extensive representation and correspondence was initiated by Shree Jagjivanbhai Vithalbhai Mistry and after a 4 year struggle we were eventually allocated the present property at a cost of South African Rand 15000.00, ( 1 US$ = 10.07 South African Rand on Oct 19/08) while the other denominations received their land for a token South African Rand 1.00. This brought about an immense desire and unity in the community to start a Temple project in Pietersburg.

In 1979, Swami Nishchayarasananda from Zimbabwe gave his blessing and prayers and Shree Jagjivanbhai Vithalbhai Mistry, Shree Bhagoobhai Dayabhai and Shree Bhagoobhai Vallabhbhai set out on the first of many collection drives around the country.

There was many a time when Shree Jagjivanbhai Vithalbhai Mistry went out by himself, for the purpose of achieving the goals set out by the community.

The Mahilas were mobilized by the strong leadership of Shrimati Harkikaki Dayabhai. They started catering at weddings, sports days, making sweetmeats and savouries during our festivals and selling them for the Temple.
Our elders in the Pietersburg Hindu Seva Samaj and Mahila Mandel were an inspiration to us all. They gave of their skills, time and their commitment to the building of the Temple.

In 1988, Shree Kishorebhai Nagar- architect, provided us with his vision of the Temple, hall and school. He also provided his services at a nominal fee-asking only for travel costs to oversee the building of the project.

The Temple was completed in 1992. Shree Harshadbhai Jagjivanbhai Mistry took over the responsibility for the project in 1990 and was instrumental in getting the design of the domes and completing the structure. Shrimati Shantaben Kuber loaned Ambamata's Murti until new Murtis were purchased. Thus with sacrifice and determination the Temple project was completed, and a school was built at the same time.

In 2007, Shree Jagjivanbhai Vithalbhai Mistry, Shrimati Manjulaben Jagjivanbhai Mistry and their grandson Jaishal Dinesh Mistry went to Jaipur, India to choose and order the Murtis. Shree Jagjivanbhai Vithalbhai Mistry was the chairman of the Pietersburg Hindu Seva Samaj from its infancy in the late seventies until 1995.

From 1995 to 2004, a new committee under Shree Mohanbhai Parsot carried out the duties of Pietersburg Hindu Seva Samaj.
In 2004, a new vibrant committee was elected, and Shree Harshadbhai Jagjivanbhai Mistry was its chairman. They instituted music and singing lessons for children and adults, taking part in Hanuman Chalisa celebrations held in different centers in the Transvaal, a bore hole for the garden was dug, and general upkeep maintenance was done.
In 2007, it was decided by the new Chairman of the Pietersburg Hindu Seva Samaj, and his committee that this Mahotsav will be held in 2008, September.

Concerted effort by Shree Harshadbhai Jagjivanbhai Mistry (son of Shree Jagjivanbhai V. Mistry), Chairman of Pietersburg Hindu Seva Samaj , Shrimati Jyotiben Harshadbhai Mistry, Shree Rameshbhai Kuber and Shree Venodbhai Jamnadasbhai was made so that we could celebrate the opening of Gita Mandir and partake in the Murti Sthapna Mahotsav.

The challenge was on. The committee spent endless sleepless nights and long days, planning and making this official opening a success. By Friday night the grounds were ready, the marquee in place, families from far and wide were present, helpers from neighbouring town of Louis Trichardt, and chefs from Durban had arrived. The officiating priest were present, and everybody waited with baited breath for the next day. In spite of the hustle and last minute changes to many things, there pervaded an uncanny peace that was experienced by all the workers.

Saturday 13th September, the Murtis were brought to the marquee early in the morning. They were washed and dressed. At 1.00pm the couples (9) taking part in the ceremonies were led to the temple by the six officiating priests. A haven was made within the temple for its purification, making it ready for the establishment of the Murtis. Prayers were also held outside the Temple, in the direction of the eight 'disha'-north, south, east, west, north east, north west, south east and south west . Thus the first day's prayers ended. After meals that evening, children performed dances that they had prepared for this occasion. Then bhajan mandals from Nirvana and Lenasia entertained over 800 people gathered for this Mahotsav.

Sunday morning turned out to be bright but cool. Today was the day for the procession around Nirvana and then the Sthapna of the Murtis. Radha Krishna's Murti was placed on the biggest truck, Ambamata's Murti on the next and Ganesh and Hanumanji's Murtis in the third truck. The trucks were preceded by our youth. The procession travelled through Nirvana, stopping at different locations and Mataji's garba were sung and participants did garba around Mataji's Murti. People sang bhajans in abandon, being lost in the spiritual vibrations of the occasion.

The procession slowly returned to the Temple grounds and the Murtis were transferred to the marquee. Here again prayers were conducted, and then the Murtis were washed, symbolically at the same time a fire truck was used to raise Shree Harshadbhai Jagjivanbhai Mistry up to the top of the domes of the Temple and water was splashed on the domes as a means of washing the Temple. Thereafter the Murtis were carried to the Temple. Radha Krishna, Ambamata, Ganesh and Hanuman were then placed and cemented on the newly renovated altar. Again prayers were carried out by four couples in the Temple and the other five couple went to the marquee and simultaneous prayers were held there.

The official opening of the Temple was then carried out by Shree Harichandbhai Dayabhai of Pietersburg. Arti was then sung in the Temple, prasad was distributed, meals were had in the marquee and slowly people went home taking with them a spiritual experience that comes but seldom.
We were blessed to be there.  

(This news reported below by Shree Dineshbhai Mistry, who grew up in Pietersburg and now with his family resides and practices as medical doctor in Golden, British Columbia, Canada)

Please visit the next page by clicking on the next line....to see the photos of the mandir yard construction and the pride and devotional spirit on the faces of those who attended the Murti Sthapna and opening ceremony of the Shree Gita Mandir in Pietersburg, South Africa on September 13-14, 2008.......All the photos and their descriptive titles were provided by Shree Harshadbhai Mistry and Jyotiben Mistry....PVAF has also supplied the location map, downtown photo and historical and current information, attractions and activities for  Pietersburg for those who would wish to visit the city including an yaatraa to the newly opened Shree Gita Mandir....




  • Pietersburg - South Africa
    Polokwane town centre.

    Polokwane - the former Pietersburg - is the capital of the Limpopo Province. Pietersburg was founded in 1886 by Voortrekkers who had been forced to abandon their camp by malaria and "hostile natives". The town was proclaimed in 1886 by the Voortrekkers and named after their General Petrus Jacobus (Pieter) Joubert benannt. In the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) Pietersburg was at times the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek in Transvaal. In 1901, the town was occupied by the British, government buildings and arms factories and even the newspaper house were destroyed immediately.

    Nowadays, Polokwane is a modern city. It lies on the Sterkloop River and is the service and trading centre for the surrounding rural areas of the Limpopo Province. Polokwane's traffic links are excellent. The town lies halfway between Gauteng (300 km) and Zimbabwe (200 km) on the N1 freeway. A modern airport binds it into the airlink net of SAA (South African Airlines).

    Polokwane offers various educational institutions, colleges, technikons and the University of the North. The city lies on 1312 m altitude and has a pleasant climate with temperatures averaging 27 degrees in summer and 20 degrees in winter. It only rains in summer (400 - 600 mm precipitation annually). Winters in Pietersburg are mild with little or no rainfall and summers are warm with a fair amount of rain.

    One can relax in the municipal Polokwane Nature Reserve, a huge nature park of 3,200 hectares with a lot of game and rich birdlife. Another attraction is the Bakone Malapa Open-Air Museum, 9 kilometres south of the town centre. It is a "living museum", impressively demonstrating the history and culture of the Sotho people in the north.


    Bakoni Malapa Northern Sotho Open-air Museum The traditional as well as modern way of living of the Bakoni tribe is shown in two lapas

    Chuene Crocodile Farm

    Concentration Camp Cemetery The camp was set up during the Anglo-Boer War and housed almost 4000 people

    Eersteling Monuments The first gold crushing site and the first gold power plant in South Africa

    Hugh Exton Photographic Museum A collection of 23 000 glass negatives taken by the photographer Hugh Exton is housed in the first NG church in Pietersburg. The negatives captured the first 50 years of the city

    Makapan Caves Famed for its yield of fossils and the siege of General Potgieter and the Black tribesmen for 30 days. Potgieter himself was killed as well as 1 500 tribesmen

    Pietersburg Bird and Reptile Park

    Pietersburg Museum The history of Pietersburg and its environment is displayed in a declared national monument building. Exhibits cover the Stone-age period, the proclamation of Pietersburg in 1886 and the obtaining of municipal status in 1903
  • Shree Gita Mandir in Nirvana


    Farmyard Visit the Farmyard for Fresh home baked products, fruit and vegetables


    Knott's Trail Camp Experience the call of the bush around a camp fire or at the swimming-pool

    Pietersburg Hiking Trail Enjoy the architectural growth and development of Pietersburg since the previous century.

    Ebenezer Dam For watersport enthusiast

    Kruger National Park for the ultimate experience in game watching

    Watch the latest movies at Ster-Kinekor


Ground preparations in the week of 08 September 2008.

Ground preparations in the week of 08 September 2008.

Ground preparations in the week of 08 September 2008. Out of town volunteer supervising workers. Shree Ashokbhai Dhulab from Secunda (Mphumalanga Province) supervising ground preparations where marquees (mandaps) were going to be setup on Shree Gita Mandir grounds.

Ground preparations in the week of 08 September 2008. Shree Harshad J. Mistry, Chairman of Pietersburg Hindu Seva Samaj supervising ground preparation.

Locals and out of town guests performing garba during the Rath Yatra on Orient Drive, Nirvana.

Shree Bhagiratbhai Mistry from Ramjee Bhajan Mandal singing garba with great joy. Shreemati Jyotiben Mistry who provided the photos and the original invitation news is in the photo in pink sarie.

Shree Kiranbhai Parsotam (playing harmonium) and Shree Ramanbhai Jeevan (playing flute) from the Ramjee Bhajan Mandal (Johannesburg)

Shree Rajubhai Kalla (playing manjira) from Ramjee Bhajan Mandal and Shree Krishna Chaitanya from Divine Life Society (Durban) singing bhajans during the Rath Yatra.

Locals and out of town guests performing garba during the Rath Yatra on Orient Drive, Nirvana. Shreemati Ansuyaben Dineshbhai Mistry from Golden, British Columbia, Canada is in this photo in the centre wearing lilac and green sarie.

Locals and out of town guests performing garba during the Rath Yatra on Orient Drive, Nirvana.

Locals and out of town guests performing garba during the Rath Yatra on Orient Drive, Nirvana.

Locals and out of town guests performing garba during the Rath Yatra on Orient Drive, Nirvana.

Locals and out of town guests performing garba during the Rath Yatra on Orient Drive, Nirvana.

 Nine Yajaman couples and members of the community gets ready to perform the Maha Aarti(14 September, 2008).


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