The centerpiece of this beautiful new facility is a huge, sunlit Prayer Hall with decorated pillars, polished granite floors and 21 ornate shrines. These shrines are temples within a temple each honoring a different representation of the same single God. God is only one; people call the same God by different names. The largest of the shrine is dedicated to Sri Vishnu, one of the most revered figures in the Hindu faith. Intricate designs and handmade figures of musicians and lions speckle the shrines crown. Brightly colored string and strands of fresh flowers liven up the beautiful architecture. Inside the temple is a standing depiction of Vishnu who is blessing his devotees and is appropriately called Varadaraja. Flanked on the either side of Sri Varadaraja are two Shrines, one representing Mother Earth, Sri Andal or Sri Bhu Devi, and the Goddess of Prosperity, Sri Laxmi (Sridevi). An important fact and as a sign of immense respect, the sculpture of Sri Vishnu himself is 1” shorter than the statue on which he is modeled. That original stands in a 1,500-year-old Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram, southern India. The local Hindu community chose that temple as the inspiration for this one. This standing, blessing divine form of Sri Vishnu is the first of its kind on the American Continent. This deity became the central deity because of the strong sentiment VISHNU on the part of the majority of Devotees in the Twin Cities area.
The main entrance of this beautiful Hindu temple faces east, and consists of two sets of massive, hand made brass-covered copper doors when opened allow the light of a summer sunrise to shine on the face of the central deity during special festivals and celebrations. In front on the east are one large man made lake with several large watershed areas adjutant to it. A fresh water stream runs through the temple property on the north side. The temple is situated at the highest elevation on the property with gradual incline towards the east and north side as suggested in our age old and time tested Vastu Shastra.
While careful attention was paid to the thousands of years of religious tradition, this building also represents modern design. The small lakes, for example, are also the source of water for the site's lawn sprinkling system. The outside walls are designed to look like stone, but they're actually a never-before-used kind of pre-cast concrete made right in Maple Grove. These panels were a practical response to a problem temple designers in India never have to worry about cold North American weather The doors and windows have a simple design but a powerful message for humanity. A lighted candle represents light of Consciousness. It represents the human potential where he/she moves from untruth to truth, from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to enlightenment and finally from death to immortality.
Minnesota being a place where the weather is so harsh and extreme, it is very hard to place these beautiful but delicate decorations created by skilled Shilpies on the exterior of the building. Even though that is what the temple architecture is typically in India, the Hindu Society selected the American architecture as its exterior, simple and as yet elegant! When one looks at the temple from outside, it doesn't feel very big, however when one enters inside, the enormity of the structure, colossal internal height , mesmerizing windows and skylights, and artistic shrines of worship reflecting recreation of several majestic temples from the Indian continent overwhelm everyone with its enormous beauty . Everything in the temple appears to be perfectly proportioned and at the right place
The Rajagopuram has some unique features to counteract the extreme nature of the Minnesota weather. Mr. Palanisami is making some major modifications in the construction materials and processes with encouragement from Muthiah Sthapathi. At the end, Rajagopuram would retain its classic beauty in front of this Hindu Temple but it would be enormously stronger to last for a very long time.
In addition to the sunlit Prayer hall upstairs where many devotees are seen deeply engrossed in silent prayers and meditations, a large Auditorium with a capacity of 450, a dining hall with a capacity of 250 and a fully furnished commercial kitchen. There are additional 4 conference rooms, Board Room, Library and a meditation room. A gift shop is being planned.
It's not what one would expect to find in the middle of a cornfield on the outskirts of Maple Grove. But here in the ex-urban fringe, at the end of a dead end road, a huge Hindu temple rises over the fields. The Hindu Mandir of Minnesota is the new spiritual center for the Hindu population of the twin cities, state of Minnesota and the nearby 6 states. The doors of the temple are open to anybody regardless of the faith one practices. Scores of Hindus as well as non-Hindus are seen visiting this unique place of worship everyday
We witnessed the remarkable evolution of the society since the Sthapana of the first Mandir in 1979. Simultaneously, we look to the future and see the promise of even greater achievements to come. The journey of the society has been extensive, and not without its trials and tribulations. However, along with the burden of difficulty and the angst of struggle, the passage of time has brought countless triumphs and gratifying rewards to the devotees of this blessed community.
On April 5th 2006, barely a few weeks before the first Kumbhabhisheka, the mettle of the Hindu Community was tested when the new Hindu Temple near completion was vandalized. Several sanctified sculptures which were getting ready to be consecrated were decapitated, dismembered, and disfigured. The walls and columns were greatly damaged by a baseball bat at 125 different places. The Hindu community rallied together, made certain that the vandals were apprehended and tried in the court of law. After the two young men pleaded guilty to their heinous acts of “Stupidity” as they described, the leadership of the Hindu Society appeared on behalf of these two young men and pleaded for the punishment which included a suspended sentences where the youngsters can pursue the life of productive citizen, rather than becoming hardened criminals through a long jail sentence. Of course for that the youngsters had to choose the right path of performing community service in the very temple that they had damaged. The entire American Society was privileged to see the Hindu Values of truth, Non-violence, Love & Compassion expressed in real life through these actions of the Hindu Community.
The Hindu community is totally cognizant of the fact that nothing worthwhile happens without the divine GRACE. It has been bestowed on our community from countless helpful citizen and very supportive city counsel members, mayors and the administrative staff of the City of Maple Grove for which we are eternally grateful. As the Hindu Society of Minnesota embarks on this new phase of the society's existence, everyone in the Hindu Community faces an unknown future because of the fairly large debt load but knows that with devotion, determination, unity, and hard work, ingenuity and generosity, the society will endure and succeed in its endeavors, and the Hindu Society of Minnesota will continue to be an interminable blessing in the lives of the entire community at large and the Hindu community members in particular for many generations to come.