Mobile, Ala. (WKRG) — Saty Putcha with the Gulf Coast Hindu Society joins us to talk about Mobile’s growing Hindu community. Here’s a look at our conversation:
Chad: This coming weekend there are some big events planned. What is happening with the new Hindu Temple and Worship Center?
Guest: Let me give you some history of our community in the Mobile Area. We started meeting in 1986 in individual homes on a monthly basis. We were a small community then. We used to worship and pray as a group. As the group grew, for the monthly worship, we rented public places such as the Jewish Community Center, Lebanese Community Center, and most recently the Terrace Hall at USA.
We began working since mid-2015 to get a place of our own as the community has grown. We raised money to purchase a 7 acre land in West Mobile in October 2015. The next step was to build a worship center. We worked hard since then raising money, hire an engineer to develop engineering drawings, apply for non-profit status, and finally constructing a 5000 square feet worship center on McFarland Road. This took over 3 years. We are ready to inaugurate during the weekend of March 29-31, 2019
Chad: How will you dedicate the center?
Guest: We will dedicate to the Devotees in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. There is no worship center in the 100-mile radius of the Mobile area. This center will serve that purpose.
We will have a Hindu Priest perform these services beginning Friday evening and ending on Sunday around noon. We will also install the vigrahas of Deities. These are made of what we call panchalohas (five metals-bronze alloy consisting of copper, tin, zinc, lead, and silver). We also have vigrahas of marble.
Chad: What was the need for a new temple and worship center in Mobile?
Guest: As indicated earlier this is the first worship center in the gulf coast area of the panhandle of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. There is a growing population of Hindu Americans in this area and it will meet their needs. We will be celebrating festivals, spiritual discourses, meditation, yoga, and worship of the deities.
Chad: How have you seen the Hindu Community grow and change in Mobile in the last few decades?
Guest: The community has grown along with Mobile. There is an increasing population of business owners, professionals, and students in the area. When I came to Mobile in 1986, there were very families. Now there is a large population of Indian Americans not only in Mobile but the neighboring areas of the Gulf Coast.
Chad: What is the value of this center to the Mobile Community as a whole?
Guest: This center will provide a place of worship to celebrate festivals and religious events. For the community as a whole, it will represent the diversity of the growing Mobile population and serves to integrate people and strengthen the harmony and unity of society.