Indianapolis Hindus Get First Full-Time Priest at Opening of New Temple

January 28, 2006

Source: The Indianapolis Star

On January 28, 2006 The Indianapolis Star reported, "Local Hindus will have more to celebrate than the opening of their new temple next week [the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana]. Their colorful rituals will be led by their very own priest -- the first full-time spiritual leader the Hindu community here has ever had. Since the first Hindus arrived here in the 1960s, they have had to find their own way spiritually. Individuals led weekly worship services as best they could. Priests from other states were sometimes brought in for special Hindu occasions. But all that changed last autumn when, in anticipation of the new temple's opening, community leaders hired their first full-time Hindu priest -- Sandip Shastri ji's... studies in the various regions of India make him a natural fit for the diverse Indian community here... His work will have added significance starting next weekend when the new temple opens. Shastri ji will lead two days of ceremonies to sanctify the 11,000-square foot building on the Far Eastside. That will prepare the temple to house the several deities to be given places of honor there... Shastri ji had a unique view of history when, in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he performed Hindu rituals at Ground Zero in memory of the Indians who died there."