Southern Illinois has its first Hindu Temple

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

Hindu Temple of Southern Illinois (HTSI), reportedly the first one in this part of the state, has opened after three-days of elaborate ceremonies and rituals in Carbondale (Illinois, USA).

Grand-opening ceremony of 4,000 square-foot HTSI; a project of non-profit Hindu Temple and Cultural Society of Southern Illinois founded in 2009; included kumbaabhishekam, araadhana, and various pujas and homams, etc.

Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of temple-project leaders and southern Illinois community to realize this wonderful Hindu temple complex.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this new temple complex would focus in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.

Besides a place of worship, HTSI will reportedly function as a community center also. It also conducts “new vehicle puja”, which costs $35 and lasts 20 minutes; and Annaprasanam (introducing solid food to a child) ritual for $51. “Shorts/short skirts/sleeveless tops not allowed” for visitors older than nine years. Temple deities reportedly include Ganesha, Venkateshswara, Shiva Linga, Durga, Laxmi, Saraswathi, Ram Parivar, Shiv Parivar, Krishna, Karthikeya, Jagannath, Hanuman, Shirdi Sai Baba and Nandi.  

HTSI, behind Carbondale Mall, which opens 365 days a year, besides daily Aarathi, also holds weekly abhishekam/puja every day except Wednesday and special monthly rituals. Pradeep Reddy, Naresh Patel, Padma Chandrashekar and Subhash Sharma are President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively of its Board of Trustees.

Before this Temple, area Hindus reportedly travelled to St. Louis or Nashville for worship services and gathered at homes. It will also be very convenient for students from India enrolled at Southern Illinois University.

Carbondale in Jackson County, founded in 1852 and known as “Capital of Southern Illinois”, has won All American City Award and Governor’s Home Town Award. Singer Shawn Colvin, saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, football player Ron Acks, and actor Dennis Franz are associated with Carbondale which is home of Cedar Lake. Joel Fritzler and Kevin Baity are Mayor and City Manager respectively.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents.

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