The Central, IL Hindu Temple is a breathtaking space that welcomes a number of Hindu denominations to worship under one roof.
OLLI members learned on today's Learning Trip that The Mission of the Temple is to preserve and promote the Hindu Religion, Culture and Philosophy. The activities of the Temple are open to everyone and all activities shall observe dignity and respect for the sanctity of the holy place consistent with Hindu philosophy and way of life. In 2000, Peoria was home to the only Hindu Temple from St. Louis to Chicago. In recent years, additional Hindu Temples have developed in Illinois, but Peoria is still a place of worship for practicing Hindus throughout Central Illinois.
As we entered the temple, many OLLI members noticed that many of the structural elements, materials used, and decor throughout the temple was not of Indian influence. It was explained that the materials used and the design of the temple itself is often intended for aesthetic purposes. The Hindu Temple strives to achieve a welcoming space that will allow members to worship. This achievement in aesthetic pleasure can be seen in the display of the deities. The Deities are present as manifestations of one god and become the focus for worship for the various denominations.
OLLI members were also very interested in learning how politics come into play with the Hindu religion, and many were surprised to learn that the priests do not perform sermons. Prakash Babu, a founding member of the temple expressed, "there is no place for politics in the Central, Illinois Hindu Temple, it is truly a place to worship." OLLI would like thank everyone at the Central Illinois Hindu Temple for giving us a warm welcome and an extremely informative tour.