Hindu temple in Illinois plans $2.7M expansion
Reno, Nev. (Aug. 4, 2016) — The Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield in Chatham, Ill, which is celebrating its eighth anniversary this week, is reportedly planning a $2.7 million expansion project, according to the Universal Society of Hinduism based in Reno, Nev.
This expansion on the 9.41 acre property is to be undertaken in phases and will be built northwest of the current structure that was a former Baptist Church. The addition will include a main prayer hall with a basement of the same size, and provide space for cultural events, reports suggest. The expansion will include 17 murtis (statues) of deities brought from India, including five — Mahlakshmi, Venkateswara, Radha-Krishna, Rama-pariwar besides Shiva-lingam — costing $100,000 each.
The temple’s proposed salient features include Raja Gopuram, deity gopurams with kalashas (costing $300,000), Havan Room, Immersion Pond with fountain (costing $100,000), Utsav Pallaki, Indianization of Temple Structure (costing $100,000) among other works. The temple will also have dining hall and stage in the basement and will be based on Vastu Shastra principles. An architect will be specially brought from India to assist in the project, reports add.
The temple’s four-day eighth anniversary celebrations, free and open to the public, which will conclude on August 7, include various pujas, kalasha sthapana, archanas, bhajans, Srinivasa Kalyana Utsavam, arathis, abhishekams, discourse, homam/havan, kanakabhishekam and cultural program. A Vegetarian Food Mela will be held on Aug. 6.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement from Nevada, commended efforts of temple leaders and area community towards realizing this Hindu temple complex. Zed said it is important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this temple would help in this direction. Instead of running after materialism, we should focus on inner search and realization of self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which is the goal of Hinduism, he said.
The Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield is a nonprofit organization established in 2007. The temple mission is “to preserve and promote the Hindu religion, culture and philosophy” and is open for daily worship. The temple reportedly undertakes study circles, religious education classes, discourses, celebrations of festivals, religious activities, community service projects and cultural events.
Dr. Kartik Mani and Gopal Reddy are trustee chairman and vice-chairman respectively; while Dr. Krishna Rao and Shipra Somani are executive committee president and vice-president respectively. Keshava Shastry is the priest.