Sri Venkateswara Temple, popularly known as Birla Mandir is located on Niladri (a hill) in the heart of the city of Pearls-Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pardesh. The temple was constructed in 1969 (1969-1975) by Hindustan charity Trust (A Birla Foundation) under the able and efficient guidance of Late Sri B. M. Birla. Sri Ganga Prasad Birla turns this temple into a great pilgrimage centre by developing and adding many more shrines in the temple complex. Apart from the presiding deity Lord Sri Venkateswara in the main temple, there are shrines for other deities like Padmavati, Andal, Garuda, Hanuman, Siva, Vinayaka and Sai Baba. The entire complex was built with quality marble brought say, the visit to Hyderabad will not be completed without a visit to the Marble Marvel—the Birla Mandir.
Dr. Kamalakar Gundepudi obtained his Master’s Degree in 1975 from Andhra University and Ph.D. in 1985 from Nagarjuna University. He is with Birla Archaeological & Cultural Research Institute (BACRI) 1-fyderabad since 1978. He did his P.G.Diploma in Museology from Osmania University in 1995 and is the recipient of SalarJung Gold Medal for that year. From the same University he obtained his P.C. Diploma in Archival Science & Manuscriptology in the year 1999. He is a recognized supervisor for guiding Ph.D. students in the field of Archaeology and allied subjects and examiner for Post Graduate and Doctoral examinations for many Universities. To his credit he has organized several national and inter-national seminars as Director of BACRI on different topics. He has edited and published several Publications apart from several research articles on Archaeology and Conservation. He had participated and directed several excavations since 1978 which include Veerapuram, Vaddamanu, Carapadu, Pudur etc. He has also participated in Under-Water explorations off Arabian Sea at Dwaraka and Betdwaraka under-taken by National Institute of Oceanography (Goa) in collaboration with BACRI.
Dr.(Mrs.) Haripriya Rangarajan obtained her Ph.D. Degree in Indian Culture from the Gujarat University in 1987. She specialized in the iconography of Vishnu and has contributed articles to academic journals, national seminars and popular magazines. Her doctoral thesis was published in 1996 under the title Spread of Vaishnavism in Gujarat up to 1600 A.D. (A study with Special Reference to the conic forms of Vishnu). Her book on Ramanuja Sampradaya in Gujarat - A Historical Perspective was published in 1996. Her third work entitled Varaha Images in Madhya Pradesh — An Iconographic Study was published in 1997 and the Asiatic Society of Bombay has awarded the Silver Medal for this work in 1998. She is a recipient of Indian Council of Historical Studies fellowship for her research studies. Presently she is working on a project entitled Varahi Images in Orissa; An Iconographic Study. She is keen in organizing and participating in the academic activities. To her credit she has organized several seminars and work-shops in close association with well-known museums and research institutions.
Mrs. Rita Sridhar obtained her Post Graduate Degree in Linguistics in 1977 with a Gold Medal from Delhi University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1988. She started her career as a banker, and has since been a teacher and social worker. She loves teaching, particularly Mathematics to students who have a fear of the subject, and has been a visiting faculty and consultant to a number of educational institutions. She is an advanced Diploma holder in Russian language and using her facility with a number of Indian languages she has worked on a number of translations. She is also an ardent upasaki of Devi Chinnamasta. She has also edited books and dabbled in freelance journalism. Through all this she has also sustained a keen interest in Indology, in the fields of Religion, Vedic Studies, Culture, Sociology and Music. She currently lives in Mumbai with her husband who is a senior banker.
Sri Lakshminaryan Mandir, popularly known as Birla Mandir, in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, was constructed in 1960 (1960 - 1964) by Hindustan charity Trust (A Birla Foundation) under the able and efficient stewardship of Padmabhushan Sri Ganga Prasad Birla. Built on an elevated picturesque location, the temple commands a good view of the Bhopal city. The presiding deities of the temple are Sri Maha Vishnu and his consort Sri Maha Lakshmi. There are also other shrines in the temple complex for Lord Siva, Durga Devi and Hanuman. The spacious front yard of the temple is an added attraction with beautiful garden and water fountains. Located in the same premises is the Birla Museum –a treasure house of Indian culture with different types of Exhibits. The temple and the Museum attract huge crowds of pilgrims as well as tourists not only from Madhya Pardesh and also from other parts of the country.
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