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Historical Perspective

How it all began? : By Swaran K. Jain

On one hot evening in July of 1982, we were discussing, among many things, the need to build our own temple where we could worship, share our cultural heritage with others and pass on our traditions to the future generation. As the interest in the idea grew, the discussion became more and more intense and enthusiasm for such a project became an overflowing desire. Someone said that a thousand-mile journey must begin with a single step. Our journey began at that instant. A dream was born. Then came a need for nourishment, a need to transform this dream into reality.

Four families, Abhay and Mina Bisarya, Swaran and Kusum Jain, Ashok and Alka Rattan, and Om and Sumitra Rattan met to take further steps. We needed to determine what it would take to build our own temple. Following this meeting, a series of events took place. Great pains were taken to develop and frame our constitution. Articles of Incorporation were prepared and submitted to the State of Kansas. We were happy to find that our temple would be recognized as a non-profit organization both by the State of Kansas and the Internal Revenue Service. This recognition was a giant leap forward towards our noble cause.

Now, more than ever, we needed the support of the Indian community as a whole. We needed some way of informing everyone of this noble cause. So, on August 26, 1982, the first Samachar Patrika was sent to everyone in our community announcing the need for everyone's help to make this project a wonderful reality. The first puja was held at Om and Sumitra Rattan's house on September 18, 1982 at 11:00A.M. The community’s response was simply overwhelming. We received cash donations totaling $6,594.00 and pledges for cash in the amount of $33,933.00.

The monumental response from the community propelled us directly toward our goal. What had started as the dream of a few people had now blossomed into the goal of an entire community. Now began the long and taxing search for a suitable site for which to build our temple. To ensure some sort of financial security for the purchase of the land, many fund raising dinners and functions were held. They were resounding successes.

Finally, on April 9, 1984, a five-acre tract of land located in an area close to at least eighty- percent of the Indian population of Kansas City, was purchased. This purchase was a milestone in the history of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Kansas City. Never before had we purchased anything of such magnitude. It was another step closer to this noble goal.

With great fanfare and festivity, the ground breaking and bhumi puja took place on Sunday, October 27, 1985. This day marked a new chapter in the history of our temple. By now we had crossed many hurdles and were confident that our dream would soon become a reality. Much hard work had been accomplished but much more lay ahead. Our imaginations were let loose on conceptual ideas of the temple. We had many designs, plans and ideas for it. Ultimately, though, it boiled down to the desires of the community versus financial constraints. We needed a place of worship and enlightenment with a functional, yet aesthetically pleasing design. So, as soon as the Board of Trustees approved the designs, construction began under the skilled supervision of Bob Sathyanarayana.

Brick by brick, the dream was beginning to take its shape. Finally the years of toil and hard work were starting to pay off. The Journey was at a landmark. The dream was almost alive.

The opening of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Kansas City, on May 22, 1988, at 9:00 A.M. was a historic event. It was breathtaking achievement of incredible magnitude which had tested the collective efforts of our community time and time again, and it was here at last. Now we had our own temple, a place where we could gather together, worship together and pass on our cultural heritage to our children. Much work was still to be done, but at last the dream had come true.

At that time our efforts were concentrated on making our temple complete with devasthan and murtis. Pradeep Shukla was given the task of designing the devasthan. We give our many thanks to Pradeep for a beautiful devasthan and a job well done. It took a countless number of hours, Herculean efforts, and many visits to India by Abhay Bisarya, Chairman of the Murti Committee, Jagan Agrawal, Thakor Patel, and Laxmi Naidu to be able to acquire beautiful murits for our temple. We thank them for their superb efforts.

In July of 1982 we had a dream, a dream of having our very own temple. In April 1991, the Murti Sthapana fulfilled this dream. During the last fifteen years, slowly and gradually we continued the growth and development of our temple, another chapter written another hurdle crossed. From its inception in July 1982 till its completion in April, 1991, the temple building project passed many stages that tested the collective will, strength, and commitment of all those who were associated with it. Temple’s successful completion and spiritual fulfillment is a source of satisfaction and pride for our entire community. There are so many people in our community who, in their own way, contributed toward the building fund. They donated their time, efforts and labor. We offer our many sincere and heartfelt thanks. Your hard work has made it possible to realize this dream of our own temple and cultural center. Now we can pass on our heritage to future generations.

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Hindu Temple & Cultural Center of Kansas City
6330 Lackman Road, Shawnee, KS 66217-9739

Phone: (913) 631-7519

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