Groundbreaking set for Forsyth County’s first Hindu temple near Clemmons

57e1f597e4dd1-imageCLEMMONS — A groundbreaking ceremony has been set for Oct. 10 for a Hindu temple on Lasater Road, the first in Forsyth County.
The Mata Hindu Temple of Winston-Salem will be built on more than 7 acres just outside the Clemmons’ town limit. Local Hindus have been holding events on the land for more than a year in preparation for the groundbreaking ceremony, said Manjunath Shamanna, who is on the board of directors for the Om Hindu Organization of North Carolina.
“Because that land was occupied by animals, and we are making them go away, we consider that an inhumane thing to do so we have to ask for pardon from Mother Earth,” Shamanna said. “We had to beautify the land with our prayers and that is what we did last year.”
The temple will be built in three phases at a total cost of about $1 million, according to Rajan Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. It will serve the county’s 500 Hindu families who regularly travel to temples in Charlotte, Cary and Morrisville.
Other plans include a cultural hall for community activities, a dining hall and rooms for classes. Eight deities will be enshrined in a 3,600-square-foot sanctum.
The deities alone will draw worshipers from around the country, Shamanna said.
“It’s going to be a very unique temple,” he said. “We hope that once it comes up and we start spreading the word, the Hindu community from all over the United States will start coming.”
Already, Hindus from across the state have come to events at the site, he said.
The construction of a temple is an involved process, requiring input from architects in India on such things as the height of the deities. That process also includes a ceremony for the groundbreaking. It will begin at 5:21 p.m.
“It’s an important ritual. It’s not like building a house,” Shamanna said. “This is building a place of worship.”
Last year, someone shot the sign announcing the temple’s imminent construction, leaving it with about 60 holes and $200 in damage. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office investigated, but no suspects have been identified.
“We are about 90 percent comfortable,” Shamanna said about how secure worshipers will feel at the site. “A lot of people are encouraging us.”
The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony.
Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religion with about 900 million followers.