ILLINOIS, U.S., June 24, 2013 (The Southern): The first Hindu temple in Carbondale, Southern Illinois, represents more than a house of prayer for hundreds of people. It also establishes a center for a community to better define itself and perhaps grow, said several people celebrating the temple's inauguration Sunday.
The 4,000 square-foot temple not only gives hundreds of practicing Hindus a place to pray but also a place to come together, said Pradeep Reddy, president of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Society of Southern Illinois. Without the temple, families or individuals would drive to St. Louis or Nashville to worship, if willing to make the trip, he said. Or, they would meet in smaller groups in people's homes.
It is expected families from a 120-mile radius will visit the temple regularly, including about 250 local families and 100 Southern Illinois University Carbondale students.
Work on the facility began with the creation of the temple board in 2009 and Reddy's and his wife's donation of three-acres of land for it. Around that time, fundraising for the $400,000 to $600,000 project started and construction began September last year. The interior of the temple is complete, but some work on the exterior including landscaping and the parking lot remains.