American Hindu Builds Temple in Orissa Open to All

July 14, 2006

Source: Hindu American Foundation Press Release

On July 14, 2006 a Hindu American Foundation Press Release reported, "The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) applauds the twelve year effort of American Julian Parker to have a temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath constructed at Kuansh village in Orissa, India. The thirty-year-old Julian Parker, who has been a devotee of Lord Jagannath since childhood, came to India in 1993 to further his religious pursuits. Unfortunately, the Jagannath temple in the city of Puri, Orissa does not allow foreigners to enter, even if they are devotees of Lord Jagannath. Therefore, Parker took it upon himself to build a temple devoted to Lord Jagannath which would be open to all. After over a decade of persistence, the 35-foot tall temple was finally inaugurated last month. The $56,000 required to build the temple was raised through donations, with Parker contributing half the cost himself... His plans do not stop with just building this temple. Next year, Parker plans to complete the traditional Rath Yatra, a festival when the murti of Lord Jagannath is taken out of the temple and paraded through the streets of Puri. He plans on building even larger temples if the just completed proves to be popular... 'Discrimination has no place in Hinduism, especially in a place of worship,' said Jay Patel, Member of the Hindu American Foundation Executive Council. 'We support the creative efforts of Mr. Parker to make Hindu religious places free of discrimination against any devotee based on ethnicity, color or caste.'"