SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA, May 17, 2013 (India West): It was a historic week at the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple & Community Center as thousands of devotees and patrons participated in the inaugural celebrations of the newly renovated temple premises. The week-long Maha Kumbha Abhishekam ceremony, which began May 8 and continued till May 12, presented an opportunity for the Bay Area Indian American community to experience the grand Hindu religious festivities in a unique fashion.
"It is gratifying to see our dream of 20 years finally fulfilled with such success," Raj Bhanot, co-founder and treasurer of the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, told India-West. "We have been able to create one of the largest community temples in the heart of Silicon Valley with enormous support from both the South Indian and North Indian community, as all deities are worshipped here and all major religious rituals are also performed here," Bhanot added.
What began as a modest venture in 1991 by visionaries Raj Bhanot and Naranji Patel, amongst others, saw its first milestone being accomplished within two years as the temple opened its doors to the public at a 3.15-acre facility in Sunnyvale on Dec. 23, 1993. Ever since, the temple has attracted thousands of visitors every year.
With the influx of visitors continuing to grow exponentially every year, the board of trustees embarked on a project to rebuild the temple in order to better serve the community. Despite the estimated cost of construction being US$3 million, the temple was able to raise more than 50 percent through cash reserves and generous donations, and a loan for the remainder from Wells Fargo Bank. The groundbreaking ceremony was performed on Mar. 23, 2012 and construction followed. Within a year, the temple was able to reopen the newly renewed worshipping complex that has a seating capacity of 1,000 people.