This profile was last updated in 2006
Arsha Vijnana Mandiram — a temple and retreat center — was founded in 2006 to meet the religious needs of Hindus in South Georgia.
The members of the group all immigrated to the Valdosta area during the last thirty years. Before the founding of this center they would go as far as Atlanta and Jacksonville to worship, in addition to worshiping in their own homes. Dr. Vrnda Chaitanya came to Valdosta in the fall of 2004 as a visiting scholar at Valdosta State University. While in South Georgia, she started teaching the Bhagavad-Gita in various community members’ homes. The Hindu community of Valdosta urged her to stay in the area and decided to erect a temple and spiritual retreat center so that they would have a place to worship and a place for their children to learn about their Indian roots.
The center is located on a 19.3-acre wooded lot outside of Pavo, Georgia. There is one central building (a white double-wide trailer), and at the other end of the property a log cabin residence is under construction.
Attendees consist mainly of highly educated, middle- to upper-middle class immigrants from India. Languages spoken include Hindi and English, depending upon the composition of those in attendance. The group is comprised mainly of people over age 30. Children, however, often accompany parents. Women constitute about 70 percent of the participants.
Activities and Schedule
The center currently offers daily morning pujas at or around 9:00 a.m. and Sunday meditation and Bhagavad-Gita classes at 4:00 p.m. Weekend retreats are planned for the future.