Champaign in Illinois (USA) will reportedly have a new Hindu temple before year end. Application for construction permit for Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Central Illinois in Champaign has reportedly been submitted and the Hindu Temple and Cultural Society of Central Illinois (HTCSCI) behind it claims to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, which falls on September 19 this year, in the newly built temple.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of temple-project leaders and Champaign and surrounding area community to realize this wonderful Hindu temple.
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 temple 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.
To be constructed in two phases complete with gopurams, this temple will reportedly cost $1.7 million on a 40-acres plot which will also include soybean and corn fields. Nearby temples are in Peoria, Lemont and Aurora, all over 100 miles away; and currently the events are held at Hindu homes, Urbana Civic Center or outdoors on the open land the Society owns. After about five years of fundraising efforts, its construction is expected to start next month and it needs to raise about $200,000 by May end, reports suggest.
HTCSCI sees this temple, originally conceived in June 2002, “as an investment for the sake of future generations”. It is organizing Sri Sita Rama Kalyanam in Urbana Civic Center on March 31. Besides regular worship services, new temple will also offer language and dance classes. Kirankumar Topudurti and Pradeep Khanna are President and Vice President respectively of HTCSCI.
Incorporated in 1860, City of Champaign claims to offer “urban perks with smaller city comforts”. Home to the University of Illinois and hub of the Silicon Prairie, Champaign has 58 parks. Prominent people associated with Champaign include Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, twice Nobel Prize awardee John Bardeen, YouTube co-founders Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, Advanced Micro Devices founder Jerry Sanders, author Amy Chua, movie critic Roger Ebert, Nobel laureate James Tobin, Pacifica Quartet, Olympic gold-medalists Bonnie Blair and Bob Richards. Don Gerard, Thomas Bruno and Steve Carter are Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Manager respectively of City of Champaign.