Hindu Temple of Minnesota Hosts Grand Opening After Vandalism Repaired

June 29, 2006

Source: KARE 11 News


On June 29, 2006 KARE 11 News reported, "It was immediately apparent when rolling up the driveway of the new Hindu Temple of Minnesota, that there is something big going on this weekend. Landscape crews scrambled to lay sod and plant shrubs, while others hustled to set up a tent, and performed general cleanup.

The hubbub surrounds the Temple's grand opening, a four day celebration that begins June 29th and runs through July 2nd. It was an event originally planned for June 2nd, but pushed back due to a thoughtless and destructive spree of vandalism.

'We have really been working hard for 10 to 15 years to come to this stage, and all of a sudden, a couple of guys destroy the work,' said Narender Venkata of the Hindu Society of Minnesota. 'That's a very bad feeling.'

Two 19-year-old year men were arrested in mid-May, and are now charged with the vandalism spree. Paul Spakousky and Tyler Tuomie are accused of causing thousands of dollars in damage to the building, and destroying expensive religious icons that were imported from India.

In the weeks since the vandalism, as the building was patched up and new idols arrived, the Hindu community healed and forgave. Today, there is only excitement and anticipation for the new temple.

'This is a sea change from the time we heard about the vandalism. We were all devastated, and we have recovered beautifully,' said Hindu Society member Umesh Singh. 'I just cannot believe how we have come together.'

While the new Hindu Temple opens for events this weekend, the work is far from finished. A team of artists from India will work for the next year and a half, to complete 19 small temples within the worship space, each of which will house an idol that is sacred to Hindus.

The community hopes to host inter-faith events to boost friendship and understanding with other religious communities."