Shree Jalaram Mandir in Hoffman Estates (Illinois, USA) is expanding. It will include extending the existing building to expand the garbh-gruh (altar) area towards west, which will be topped by three domes; a porte-cochere entryway, 69 new parking spaces, etc., which has reportedly been approved by the Hoffman Estates Village Board and is expected to complete in the next few months. Mandir might propose a larger expansion to the north side in future.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today (24 April 2011), applauded efforts of Mandir management and Hoffman Estates and surrounding area community for these planned additions to the wonderful 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 these new temple additions would help 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.
Dedicated to Jalaram Bapa, renowned saint of Virpur (Gujarat, India), this temple, also known as Virpur Dham of America, was originally a church when it was purchased by Shree Jalaram Mandir Organization registered in 2006.
After transformation into a Mandir, it was inaugurated in 2008. Its weekly events include Shiv Abhishek, Bhajan, Hanumanji Abhishek, Sunderkand Path, Satsang; while it conducts three aartis daily—Mangla Aarti, Shangar Aarti and Sandhya Aarti. During the remaining part of the current year, it will organize Satnryan Samhu Katha, Gurupurnima, Shivpuran Katha, Independence Day Ceremony, Janmashtami, Ganesh Choth, Srva Pitru Sradh, Navratri Mahotsav, Mataji Havan, Dashera, Sharad Purnima, Dhan Teras-Dhan Puja, Kali Chauda-Sundarkand Path, Diwali & Annakut, Nutan Varsh, Jalaram Jayanti, and Tulsi Vivah.
Mandir currently offers classes in Bharat Natyam, Gujarati, music, tabla, yoga, resume-career, mathematics, culture, musical keyboard; and plans to offer instruction in interview tips, positive thinking, improving social skills, etc. It also conducts various free cultural-spiritual activities for youth and senior citizens. Madhusudan Thakkar, Hasmukh Thakkar, and Yogesh Thakkar are Chairman, Vice Chairman and General Secretary respectively of the Trust Board; while Chirayu Parikh, Bhupendra Thakkar, and Vipul Thakkar are President, Vice President and General Secretary respectively of the Executive Board. “To spread the message of love, peace and humanity”, is the mission of the Shree Jalaram Mandir. Virpur style boondi, ganthiya and khichadi are served as prasad every Thurday and Sunday.
Virpur is a small village about 52 kilometers from Rajkot where saint Shree Jalaram Bapa (1799-1881) was born.
Motto of Hoffman Estates, a northwestern suburb of Chicago (Illinois) incorporated as village in 1959, is “Growing to Greatness”, and it serves as the headquarters for the Sears Holdings Corporation. William D. McLeod is the Mayor, while Bev Romanoff and James H. Norris are Clerk and Manager of the Village respectively. Notable people associated with the Village include: actor Todd Stashwick, conspiracy theory writer Christopher Bollyn, DJ Flipside, journalist Kyung Lah, etc.