The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2 Vol Set)
As you drive through the cornfields of northern Illinois, just north of the town of
Aurora, you may see a massive brick building that seems out of place. It stands three
or four stories high with an elaborate facade depicting pillars and cornices. Topped by
towering spires with flapping banners, it looks as if it belongs to another world. In a
sense it does—the architectural style comes from southern India, and the building
itself is a Hindu temple.
I was there late on a Sunday morning, and the parking lot was about half full.
There were cars from as far away as Michigan. The building’s main entrance was a little
below ground level, and as is common with Hindu temples outside of India, the lowest
level had a lobby, a kitchen, and a large meeting room that was comparable to the
“church basements” of its Christian counterparts. The lobby was furnished austerely,
with folding tables and chairs. There were a few people sitting near the kitchen, drinking
tea and chatting informally.