For 9 Nights, His Body Shop is a Temple

May 1, 2008

Author: Val Cavalheri

Source: Washington Post/

A colorful and elaborate altar, chanting devotees and burning incense are hardly what you'd expect to encounter at an auto body garage, but that's exactly what greeted visitors last week at a body shop just west of Dulles International Airport.

D&V Autobody, located for the past 22 years in Chantilly, is moving to an address on Overland Drive off Old Ox Road, and nothing is being left to chance.

Dave Maharaj, the "D" of D&V (the "V" is his wife, Vena), moved to the United States in 1971 from Trinidad and Tobago, bringing with him all the culture of his heritage. When his business outgrew its location, he knew he had a lot for which to be thankful.

Turning the bay area of the newly constructed garage into a Hindu temple, he invited some friends and brought in a priest from his native country to observe pooja (prayer) over nine evenings. Since the ceremonies started April 16, 40 to 100 people have stopped by each evening to wish the family luck and admire the ornate temple that Maharaj built in honor of Nau Durga, the female spirit responsible for homes and construction.