Hindus in South Jordan are holding a temple rededication ceremony this weekend, including the construction of a tower on the site. This religious event is celebrated every 12 years, and organizers say they are expanding the temple as the Indian community in Utah has grown.
The 3-day celebration includes elaborate ceremonies. Statues of deities are cleansed and blessed with milk before they are installed in shrines. Outside, a visiting priest from India is praying and pouring clarified butter into fires intended to provide a connection to the Gods. Prominent Utah businessman Dinesh Patel recently became president of the temple to help raise 2.6 million dollars for the expansion project.
“The number of people, the devotees has grown tremendously. The last two years, we’ve been raising money and we’ve expanded the temple from 200 people to 500 plus capacity,” Patel says.
Since the first temple dedication, Patel says Utah’s Indian population has grown six times larger. Temple trustee Venka Subramanyan says the new tower they have built was made possible by the generosity of the community, but its size is limited by the money available.
“Ideally we would have liked to build one to rival the LDS temple here, but you know it’s just that we don’t have as many people, therefore we stuck to a 45 feet steeple,” Subramanyan says.
The new tower is simply made of bricks, but organizers say crafts people from India will be decorating and embellishing it over the next year.