“We had originally planned for three phases: a community center, the new temple and an auditorium,” said President Santhi Subramaniam. “Due to an expansion of a city road, we have had to cancel phase three for the auditorium. If all goes as planned with no further delays, we will be in our new temple for Diwali, a 10-day festival, at the end of September. They said they need to do the parking lots before winter, so things are moving along.”
The community has outgrown the current temple which was purchased in 2004.
“We don’t have a service like Catholics,” said Subramaniam, who grew up in southern India and went to a convent school for 12 years. “It doesn’t matter if you pray to Jesus on the cross or to a deity; we believe they all go to one big god.”
They meet 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays to read a passage of the Holi book and interpret it. The temple is open to anyone. The temple has a full schedule with a dance class on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesday, and classes for kids on Friday.
“Every second Saturday, we sing devotional songs to all the gods,” Subramaniam said. “These are my favorites and very easy to learn.”
“People can also request a Pooja by our priest to bless a new car or home, celebrate a birthday or other special occasion,” she said. “We bathe the gods and dress the gods on their birthdays on a rotating cycle.”
A Pooja is a ceremony where the deity made of granite, marble or alloys is washed in a specific sequence: a milk bath followed by yogurt, then wiped down and re-dressed in the presentation of its personality. A final offering of food and fruits is given on a platter to the god or goddess. There is a list of ceremonies and the fees.