Balaji Temple in Oregon soon

OREGON: Indian Americans in and around Washington County in Oregon have a cause to rejoice. A Hillsboro-based no profit organization, the Hindu Educational and Cultural Society of America (HECS), has announced plans to build a Balaji temple and all purpose community center in the area soon.

Balaji Temple in Oregon
Balaji Temple in Oregon

The Society has recently bought a parcel of 11.5 acre property investing close to $1. 3 million with the avowed purpose of building Balaji temple in authentic style in the course of next few years.

The temple to be built in multi-layer phases will have its first phase commenced in all probability before middle of the year as the HECS committee awaits clearance for the temple and community hall project from the concerned local authorities, according to Sunder Rajgopal, president.

In a talk to this paper, he said that the plan is to have a place of worship, community hall and meeting place in the first phase that should cost around $2,5 million.

The second phase will be building an authentic Hindu temple and enough parking facilities for the devotees not only from Portland but surrounding areas too, serving closet to 8000 families.

Portland Balaji Temple currently rents space on Northwest Aloclek Drive in the Cornelius Pass Business Park. The temple as it operates now is proving too small and is sometimes cramped for its congregation of over 1,000 people from all across the Portland area and beyond. Besides, the current facilities also have a Sai Temple and it is being frequented by huge number of devotees who during festival period swell to 1500 to 2000 in number.

In the light of huge support that it receives from attendees and devotees alike, HECS has decided to shift to its own and a bigger place. According to information from Washington County officials, it bought a parcel of land January on Glencoe Road just south of its intersection with the Sunset Highway. The 11.5-acre property lies next to a gas station. The construction of the new facilities will occur over multiple phases, it is learnt.
Plans are afoot to build a community hall of at least 10,000 square feet. The authentic Indian-style temple, which could measure as large as 15,000 square feet, would come later. But it’s not only Indians that the temple hopes to serve.

“We are inviting all community people who want to learn about Hinduism,” S. Rajagopal said. He added that the organization also wants to “build for the homeless people. We have a plan for that, also. We want to help the community.”

The temple, founded in 2010, recently hosted a grand Diwali celebration attended by hundreds of devotees. One of its missions is to promote and practice the Hindu ideal of universal brotherhood and love, and to create awareness about Hindu religion through worship, education, social services and teachings among second generation Indian immigrants.

The aim for the community center is to have a place for conducting social, educational, cultural, literary and religious activities for the community.

The temple management also hosts cultural programs and shows on a regular basis to offer a glimpse of Indian culture and a first hand experience of the way the festivals are celebrated across diverse India to adults and children alike.

The current Temple, open seven days a week, runs a library; classes of Sanskrit/Slokas, Kannada and Carnatic vocal; and organizes cultural events. It conducts various pujas, including Car Puja (prayers for the car) for $51. Wedding ceremony costs $500.

Washington County is also home to Beaverton-based India International Church, which is primarily composed of Indian immigrants of various Christian faiths.

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service

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