Monday, October 03, 2005

A future built on faith |

A future built on faith | "Jagdish Dave remembers when the entire Hindu population of Indianapolis consisted of fewer than a dozen families.
The semiretired engineer from the Northside says the best way for new arrivals to find other Hindus was to search out Indian names in the phone book. Eager to forge a connection, these newcomers would introduce themselves to dark-skinned Asians they might happen across on the street."

Today, some four decades later, the Hindu community of Indianapolis has grown to nearly 3,000 families, still small but large enough for it to build the state's first Hindu temple, on the Far Eastside. The temple, Hindus hope, will serve as a place for worship as well as a showpiece to educate the broader Indianapolis community about their culture...

The Hindu faith, with its belief in reincarnation and concept of a god represented in the forms of multiple deities, originated in India roughly 5,000 years ago. It is one of the world's oldest religions.
There are more than 800 million Hindus in India today. About 1 million Hindus live in the United States, with the largest concentrations found in major cities like New York and Chicago....

The first phase of the temple construction, a $1.3 million project due to be completed in November, will give local Hindus 11,000 square feet of space. But that only hints at things to come.
Ultimately, plans call for the temple to triple in size and cut a distinctively Indian pose on its 13-acre site along North German Church Road.
A wide stone staircase will rise to an elevated colonnade. Distinctive Indian-style towers called gopuarms will project into the sky. In the front of the building, a pair of three-dimensional elephant murals on each side of the staircase will give the illusion they are pulling the entire structure like a grand chariot.
Inside, 12 Hindu deities -- shaped in metal or carved from granite or marble -- will reside in specially made "houses" inside the temple.
"It will be very unique," Dave said. "This is a very exciting time for us to share our culture."

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