HISTORY OF IACA AND SANATAN MANDIR
IACA was formed in 1971 by a handful Indian Americans in Atlanta. A prominent Academician created a constitution for the organization and gave a focus and purpose for the community. That focus was to create a “Cultural Center” for the more than 250 families in town. The necessary IRS compliance was also obtained in 1975. There was a modest fundraising. It was not until 1978 when IACA started having regular board meetings and it was in 1979 when a Cultural Center Committee was formed with the idea of purchasing a home for IACA. After intense efforts spearheaded by Acquisition Committee Chairman, several buildings were considered before the Board of Directors passed a resolution to purchase the existing ICRC building situated on 3.541 acres on September 28, 1983. With the financial and moral support of devoted and committed members of the community the purchase of the property on 1281 Cooper Lake Road SE, Smyrna, GA. 30082 occurred on March 16, 1984.
The General Body unanimously named the building India Cultural and Religious Center. The IACA members of all faiths from India were given the opportunity for prayer services in allocated areas. The allocated area for Hindu worshippers was in the space where we currently have the temple. Enthusiastic members led by young physicians approved installing deities in that area after due renovations and the Mandir inauguration took place on Janmashtami of 1985. It was named ICRC temple.
Since then, through very rigorous efforts of India Center Committee for fund raising and a devotee’s real estate expertise, IACA was able to acquire more adjoining homes in 1988, 1998, 2000. The remainder adjacent property was acquired in 2001 to accumulate very valuable total of the present 10+ acres campus.
A resolution for developing an India Center and Sanatan Mandir was passed by the General Body of IACA on December 4, 2005. The name was approved by a general body from a list of proposed names. The resolution also stipulated separate buildings for the two projects. Since then efforts were underway for both the projects; however, the concept of developing Sanatan Mandir took shape first and rigorous fund raising followed. Some enthusiastic supporters were inducted to the Initial Board of Governors and various ad-hoc committees were formed from the donors and volunteers to pursue the enormous tasks of this noble undertaking. The efforts of fund raising including countless events, culminated in collection of donations in excess of $1,500,000.
In 2009 Phase I, the Site preparation work began. Phase I included Parking lot, Ingress, Egress, Detention pond, Retaining Walls, Safety lights, Compaction of the Site pad and the Utilities work. Approximately $900000 has been expended on Phase 1. Phase I of the project was completed in 2011.
Efforts have been under way since 2011 to initiate Phase II.
Phase II includes Development of Mandir Design, County Approvals, Financing and Community outreach and support
Today the temple is an integral part of the Hindu way of life in Metro Atlanta and surrounding states. It provides
* Inner peace to the individual,
* facilitates spiritual progress of the devotee,
* serves as a platform for fulfilling one’s religious duties as prescribed by our scriptures,
* strengthens cultural ties by encouraging the study of scriptures and literature and celebrating religious Holi days,
* fosters harmony and unity in the family and community.
On June 11, 2014 the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee of the Sanatan Mandir along with the Board members and Executive Committee members of IACA met for a thorough review of the current design, approval status from City and County governments and finances for commencing the construction of the New Sanatan Mandir. The meeting concluded with a unanimous approval of Shilanyas – laying of foundation stone- for the new Mandir on Ganesh Chaturthi, August 29, 2014.
The Shilanyas Mahotsav – celebration for the laying of the Foundation stone - of the New Sanatan Mandir transpired on Friday, August 29 and Saturday August 30, 2014. The two day event coincided with Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh Chaturthi is considered one of the most auspicious muhurats for undertaking new beginnings. The event, attended by more than 500 devotees, was full of joy, reverence and devotion.
Construction of the New Sanatan Mandir is scheduled to begin in January, 2015.