Institution for Hindu Cultural Community Development for Albertans
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Registered Charity #: 89227-3442-RR0001

A brief History of the Sri Murugan Society of Alberta

  • The Sri Murugan Society of Alberta was founded in April 1994, to serve the religious needs and promote the spiritual wellbeing of a growing community of Hindus in Calgary and the surrounding areas. According to the By-laws of the Society, one of the primary objectives of the Society is to “foster, promote and perpetuate the worship of Lord Sri Murugan through the construction and maintenance of a temple” dedicated to the worship of Sri Murugan. The founders believed that Calgary is an ideal place for a Murugan temple as mountains are considered to be the preferred abode of Sri Murugan.  
  • The Society was registered under the Societies Act of Alberta with By-laws similar to that of the Maha Ganapathy Society in Edmonton. The Society was also registered as a charitable organization under the Canadian Income Tax Act.
  • Initially bhajans (group singing of devotional songs) and poojas were held at devotees’ residences. After approximately a year, the Society rented space at the Hindu Temple in NE Calgary, to conduct monthly bhajans and poojas.  Although the membership was small at that time, there was no shortage of volunteers to organize various functions.  Devotional songs were classified under different deities, itemized and printed in a book format for use at the monthly bhajans.  Several major functions, both religious and cultural, were celebrated, generating good attendance.  Other activities included: religious classes, community service activities such as delivering sandwiches to Drop-In Centre, donation of food items to the Food bank during Christmas, and cash donations to the Red Cross and Ramakrishna Mission during their appeals.
  • The Society registered with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission in 1999 to receive a license to conduct Casinos; a major source of fund raising for the temple.
  • A major event, in the history of the Society, was the arrival of a Ganesha idol in January 2002. It was a gift from Gurudeva Satguru Sivaya Subramuniayaswami of Kauai Monastery, with his blessings that the Society achieves its goal of building a temple soon. Swami visited Calgary in July, 2000 and gave his blessings again for the early construction of the temple. It is worthy of mention here that the Swami was an American who became a disciple of Yogaswami of Jaffna and resided in his Ashram. However, Yogaswami asked him to go back to North America to promote Hinduism in the West. The many Hindu temples built in North America and Europe will bear testimony to his contribution to Hinduism. The Society now celebrates Ganesha’s arrival annually in January, with an abishekam and pooja on a grand scale, attended eagerly by a large number of devotees.  Since his arrival in Calgary, Ganesha has been hosted by devotees in their homes, on a monthly basis, with tender loving care.
  • In June 2002, the Society purchased a parcel of land (approximately 40 acres) just outside Calgary city limits in the NE on Country Hill Boulevard, jointly with four other societies. The Society’s portion of the land was approximately 9 acres. A Land Committee, headed by the Sri Murugan Society, was formed to manage expenses and negotiate with the Rocky View County on land matters related to rezoning and subdivision. The Joint Committee held several open houses with the local community to explain the temple project, but the County rejected the application due to severe opposition from the local community.  Realizing that the chances of proceeding with the project were slim, the Joint Committee sold the land in 2010, with a good profit that benefitted all the Societies involved.
  • As it became apparent that it could take some time to realize the Society’s main objective of building a Temple, it searched for a temporary location for Ganesha, such as a warehouse. However, due to limited parking, the application to use the warehouse as a religious facility was rejected by the City of Calgary.
  • In 2011, the Board of Trustees decided to purchase a land that was already rezoned for the construction of places of worship. At a Special General Meeting of Society held in January 2013, a resolution was adopted to permit the Trustees to borrow up to $3million ( three million dollars) for the purpose of constructing the temple. A parcel of land in the extent of 45 (?) acres was bought in 2014 and the funds collected through Casinos over the years covered a substantial portion the cost of the land. Elaborate and extensive fund raising activities were also undertaken by the Society to meet some of the construction costs of the temple, including private donations both direct and on-line and cultural programs with local and foreign artists. A major part of the construction cost was covered by a line of credit made available by the Alberta Treasury Branches. The Government of Alberta also contributed generously towards the temple/cultural centre project and we acknowledge gratefully its support.
  • The Temple construction commenced in October 2015 and was substantially completed and the occupancy permit obtained in November The first special Pooja-Karthigai Deepam- was celebrated in December 2016 at the new temple followed by a successful celebration of Sangu Sthapanam (laying of conch shells at the sanctum Santorum) in January 2017.
  • The Society is confident that with the participation and financial support of members, devotees and well-wishers, it will be able to successfully complete the remaining work, mainly the installation of all the designated deities, at the temple/ cultural centre and celebrate the Kumba Abishekam in 2017.

Presidents of the Sri Murugan Society of Alberta over the Years

  • Raj Pillai
  • Vathana Chandran
  • T.Natarajan
  • S.Chandrakumar
  • S.Gnanakumar
  • B.Navaratnam
  • A.Panchalingham
  • Dr.V.Nallainayagam
  • A.Jayanthan


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