Festive Gathering for Krishna's Birthday at the Greater Baltimore Hindu-Jain Temple

August 20, 2006

Source: The Baltimore Sun


On August 20, 2006 The Baltimore Sun reported, "The women are dressed in kaleidoscopic colors, dancing in a whirling pinwheel and tapping wooden sticks with their neighbors' to keep the beat. Their white-robed priest leads the congregation in chants, offering fruit and fragrant flower garlands to the gods who stand watch on marble pedestals. As the night wears on, children rub their eyes and grandmothers yawn, waiting for midnight. That's when they can finally celebrate the birth of the baby Krishna, the most venerated Hindu god, the protector of the universe. 'It's a big festival for the temple,' says Dr. Dinesh Kalaria, a Westminster cardiologist directing the hundreds of cars trying to park outside the Greater Baltimore Temple in Finksburg Wednesday night. 'Even though this is a weekday, this is one of those bigger crowds, maybe the biggest this year.' Close to 900 Indian immigrants and their American-born children, who live in Carroll and surrounding counties, flock to the Hindu and Jain temple for the occasion... The birth of Krishna, or Sri Krishna Janma Ashtami, is one of the most sacred of the dozen-plus prominent Hindu holidays. It's akin to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, minus the presents. At midnight, worshipers place a baby Krishna statue in a bassinet. They rock the crib and bow before their god in prayer. Efforts to build the temple originated with a few hundred families in the early 1990s. Now the temple, which opened in 1998, has swelled to include 1,500 families on their mailing list, with another 700 families in their database, said Annasaheb Anuje, the temple's president. Some 300 members, including Anuje, are Jain, another ancient Indian religion."