Shri Rajkumarji Agarwal
It gives me great pleasure to usher in the Navaratri season this year. It was my respected father, late Shri Bansilal’s great desire to build a temple for Goddess Mahalaxmi and my mother was an embodiment of sattvik and spiritual qualities. In 1972, the foundation stone of this temple was laid near SarasBaug, and on February 15, 1984, the idols of Sri Mahasaraswati, Sri Mahalaxmi and Sri Mahakali were installed and consecrated at the temple.
It took twelve years of concentrated work by the skilled craftsmen of Rajasthan for this temple of the universal Mother to be completed and today this well-known landmark of Pune is sustained by the faith of thousands of devotees. The auspicious festive season of Sri Mahalaxmi’s Navaratri Mahotsav, with Brahmotsav, Jhoola Utsav, Vivah Utsav, Deepotsav and various devotional festivities are carried out throughout the year with the enthusiastic participation of many devotees. The social, cultural and most auspicious traditions passed on from generation to generation are being preserved at this temple and it has become the focus for imparting such values to future generations of Punekars.
Children and students are encouraged and trained to recite the Sri Suktha and AtharvaShirsh. Navaratri is celebrated for the empowerment and dignity of women. Distinguished women who have played a major role in uplifting and empowering women are honoured during this period. The Adi Shakti Puraskar, Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar are awarded, music competitions are arranged at the college level, and municipal sanitation workers and health care workers are felicitated and honoured. Such social activities are conducted by the temple in its outreach to the community.
In 2015, we are extremely happy to have initiated the ‘My Tree’ campaign of tree plantation with 15000 school children for the greening of Pune city. This campaign is to inculcate the spirit of nurturing and caring for the environment in the future citizens of our city and country. I am extremely happy that Sri Mahalaxmi Mandir has taken shape as a centre of religious, cultural, social and community activities, just as we had dreamt and envisaged it to be.
I pray that in future years too, we continue to receive the blessings of Sri Mahalaxmi in sustaining all our activities and reaching out into new directions of service.