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New $20 Million Jain Temple Opens in India

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New $20 Million Jain Temple Opens in India


Filed under: Religion, United States — Michael van der Galien on October 9, 2008 @ 8:30 pm CEST


A new Jain temple was opened in California, the United States last weekend. Adherents of this faith share a belief in reincarnation and nirvana with Hinduism, but differs in quite some ways from it nonetheless. The new temple had a tremendously high price tag to it, $20 million. It is likely to attract followers, tourists and scholars en masse.

The Jain religion originates from India, the first Jain families settled in Orange County, California approximately 40 - 45 years ago.

07b5553b-8113-4faf-8dea-317b0f4228e9_preview.jpg They built the first Jain temple for worship in the United States in 1988, but replaced it now with a new one.

The Associated Press described the new Jain Temple as follows: ‘The soaring marble-and-limestone facade takes up almost an entire block in this working class city and dominates a mundane scene of laundromats, auto repair shops and taco stands with its domed roof and gleaming, coffee-colored pillars.’

Where they built the first, simple, temple in 1988, it is now replaced by a building with ‘intricate images of instrument-playing goddesses, idols, elephants and flowering lotuses line the marble walls and ceiling.’ ‘The designs were inspired by two famous Jain temples in India, both about 1,000 years old; tons of Indian marble were shipped in crates over six months to recreate the imagery, paid for almost entirely by member donations.’

“You don’t see temples this size very often, even in India,” said Dilip V. Shah, president of Federation of Jain Associations in North America. “It’s so majestic. … This is something to admire, and it inspires others.”

Ashok Savla, president of Jain Center of Southern California told AP reporters that one of the main reasons for the decision to build the new temple, rich in splendour, was that many Jains have trouble keeping their faith and traditions in an increasingly changing society.

“In this day and age, there’s so much violence in our lives and here we are with a philosophy of nonviolence. How do we pass these values on to the next generation?” Savla said. “We need a place where we can have our children start learning the values that we all believe in.”

Less than 1 million Indians practice Jainism, but the faith can count on millions of adherents worldwide, and approximately 100,000 in the United States. It teaches nonviolence and vegetarianism.

The new Jain temple was opened with a spectacular party. Adherents to Jainism danced, worship and attended theater plays for 11 days before the dessert of the celebration took place: on Saturday, the new temple was opened.

‘The temple opened last weekend after 11 days of dancing, worship and theater organized by the 1,500-member community, topped off by a parade and sacred ceremony to install 47 marble idols in their new home. Twenty-four of the statues, which Jains worship, represent people who attained enlightenment through repeated reincarnation,’ the AP explained in its report about the celebration.

‘Together with its attached cultural center, classrooms and a planned 10,000-tome library, the complex will be the largest Jain spiritual center outside India.’

‘The completed project will include 15 classrooms so that hundreds of children can take religion classes and learn Hindi and Gujarti to read religious texts, said Savla. Some of the classrooms will share space with the library, the largest collection of Jain writings outside India,’ the report went on to say.

It is yet another sign of America’s tolerance towards religious minorities and their inherent right to practice their beliefs in that country. Jains have problems exercising their faith in a variety of countries, the U.S. clearly not being one of them. The new temple enables them to become part of America’s rich religious life and history.

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Oh thanks, this is great news for my cousins out there in the US. :)


Yes, after having witnessed the deviant behaviour of the Vaishnava institutions there're many Hindus in US stating, only the cows in India are holy but not the cows in US.

Fundamental Jainism seems the right answer to correct this development.

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