Sikh Temple Ready to Meet Area's Spiritual Needs

November 28, 2008

Author: Frank Kocher

Source: North County Times

The culmination of a 13-year effort by the local Sikh community will occur next Friday, Dec. 5, when their new temple in Escondido holds its first worship service.

"This is a big moment for us. Some of our children were in kindergarten when we started and are now in college," said Baljit Singh Toor, the chairman of the board of the Sikh Society of San Diego.

Toor said that on Dec. 5, the temple, or gurdwara, as the Sikhs call it, will host a three-day ceremony known as Akhandh Path, during which the entire Sikh sacred scripture (Granth) is recited in an uninterrupted reading, a tradition for newly opened places of Sikh worship.

For the past 10 years, Sikhs (pronounced "seeks") in the Escondido, San Marcos and Temecula areas have been gathering at Del Dios Middle School for weekly religious services, Toor said ---- the next-nearest gurdwaras being in Poway and Riverside.

The new temple has 7,900 square feet and includes a large worship hall, a kitchen to prepare community meals, a room for a spiritual leader and restrooms. The building will serve a community of Sikh worshipers estimated by Toor at about 150 families. The gurdwara is near the southeastern corner of West Valley Parkway and Avenida del Diablo, and is on land purchased in 1995. The entire project cost about $1.5 million, which is being paid for by the local congregation.