DANVILLE, Pa. — There is nothing on land on Jerseytown Road near Danville at the moment, but that will soon change. A Hindu temple and community center are being built there.
"There seems to be a need for a place for the community to gather, pray and explain the significance of the culture that we come from to the next generation," Dr. Yatin Mehta said.
Dr. Yatin Mehta, Amishi Khara, and Dr. Anil Kotru live and work in the Danville area and are from India. The three tell Newswatch 16 that the Indian-American community is growing in this area. The closest Hindu temple is in Harrisburg, an hour and a half away.
"Not feasible to do it on a weekly or daily basis, and so that was the genesis of the whole project," Dr. Mehta said.
"Our kids go to Catholic school, and they always say, 'My friends go to church every Sunday. What do we do?' For us, it's not feasible to drive so far, so this would be something that they can relate to," Amishi Khara said.
The three are on the board of directors for Shanti Mandir, which means "Temple of Peace." The temple and community center will provide a space to worship locally, and it will be open to everyone.
"It's not only for the Indian community. We want to welcome the community that lives around here. We will offer meditation and yoga classes, and everyone is welcome," Dr. Anil Kotru said.
The group is holding a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday, May 15, at 10 a.m., and the entire community is invited.
"We'll have the ceremony in the morning followed by lunch and fundraising," Khara said.
The project costs around $1 million. The group is holding fundraisers and collecting donations.
"To start something like this and leave a legacy for generations, I think it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the significance I think it's difficult to put into words," Dr. Mehta said.
The group hopes to have the temple up and running by next spring. For information on how to donate, click here.
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