MORGAN HILL, California — It was a cool and cloudy Saturday morning when a small group of people gathered in an open field here to start an almost seventeen mile walk to San Martin.
Volunteers and worshippers at the Vaidica Vidhya Ganapathi Center, commonly known as VVGC, gathered to kick-off a fundraising walk to raise awareness of the temple and community center.
The Center houses the Sri Vallabha Maha Ganapathi Temple and was founded in 2003. In August 2012, 12.7 acres of land were purchased in San Martin to expand the temple from its warehouse location in San Jose.
Pandit Sivasankar Hemmanur started the off participants Aug. 27 morning with a short puja. Walkers quickly got in gear, briskly striding down the roads, guided by county cars as needed.
There were food and hydration stations along the way as well as a halfway point during which another set of participants joined.
With a strong core of volunteers, the temple is slowly gaining more visitors. The fundraising walk was inspired by Concord’s Shiva Murugan Temple’s walkathon and conceived by volunteer Kamesh Velu.
Volunteer Bhavani Ganesan was on hand, checking to make sure everything was running smoothly. “This is our community temple, our cultural center,” she said. We are walking “to bring awareness for the new temple building.”
With two large buildings, one housing temporary idols, the other a commercial kitchen currently being built, the Center has a courtyard with a water fountain between them, and a large on-site garden. The area behind the kitchen building will house a kid’s play area along with farm animals and plants.
VVGC is the largest Hindu devotional center in the South Bay, and second largest in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Pandit Ganesh Shasthry, with Livermore’s Shiva-Vishnu Temple being the largest. Construction completed in 2019, but there were delays due to Covid and the installing of gas, electricity and water. But as of August 8th, “it’s all done,” says the Pandit.
At the halfway point was where Rajarajeshwari Vaddiparty, age 80, joined the walk. “Because I’m being 80 nobody thinks I can walk,” she said, “[but] I made it to the temple.”
To learn more about the Vaidica Vidhya Ganapathi Center, visit https://vvgc.org/
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