After three-day elaborate ceremonies, Northwest Arkansas Hindu Temple opened in Bentonville (Arkansas, USA) on July 29.
Raised by Hindu Association of Northwest Arkansas (HANWA); a non-profit organization whose goal includes “to serve the religious, cultural, social, charitable, and spiritual needs of Hindus”; Krishna is its primary deity. Other deities include Ganesha, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi and Venkateshwara.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of HANWA leaders and area community to realize this Hindu temple complex.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this temple complex would focus in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.
The three-day celebrations (Mandira Prarambhotsvam) included: Swastivachanam,Vishwaksena Aradhana, Punyahavacanam, Stotra Parayanam, Mrutsangrahanam, Ankuraropana, Soma-Vastu-Rudra Homams, Mangalasasanam, Sevakalam, Havan, Yantra-Kalasa Adhivasams, Torana Pooja, Alaya Pradakshina, Yantra Pratishtha, Vigraha Sthapana, Kalasa-Gopura Abhishekam, Santi Kalyanam, Chakrasnanam, Aseervacanam and cultural programs.
Besides regular worship activities, this about 4,000 square-feet Temple offers Vishnu Sahasarnama on Saturdays and monthly community bhajans. About 2500 Hindus reportedly live in the area. Swami Venugopala Gattu is the priest.
Nirupama Raghavan is the President of HANWA, formed in 1999, while Umashankar Balaraman, Sharmila Sanka and Ravikanth Krovvidi are Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
Female majority Bentonville, incorporated in 1873, is home to world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart’s headquarters and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Bob McCaslin is the Mayor and prominent people associated with it include billionaire Jim Walton, aviation pioneer Louise Thaden, singer Dan Folger and actress Karri Turner.