GRANDE PRAIRIE, CANADA, July 28, 2013 (Daily Herald Tribune): Grande Prairie's growing community of Hindus celebrated the official opening of the first temple in the province north of Edmonton on Sunday.
The day was marked by a traditional ritual of "prana pratishta," a rite in Hindu theology that distinguishes the consecration of the deities, followed by an inauguration by Mayor Bill Given. With that, the formal ceremony transformed a patch of ground east of the city limits into a sacred dwelling of public worship.
"This is such a joyous occasion," said Ratna Kali Roy, the wife of Nikhilesh Roy, president of the Grande Prairie Hindu Association (GPHA). "We consider ourselves very lucky that we have been able to do this."
The notion of a cultural center is rooted in the need for one by Grande Prairie's practicing Hindus. According to Roy, the families have had to travel 280 miles to Edmonton, if wanting to visit the nearest temple rather than gathering in private homes. "It worked before when the (Hindu) community was quite small, but now it has grown a lot, and we definitely needed a space to call our own and celebrate properly," she said.
"This will be a place for us to celebrate our festivals, instill our traditions in our children and showcase our culture to the people of peace region, said Roy."