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Thousands Gather to Worship at Lemont temple Consecration

LEMONT, IL- Thousands of devotees gathered for worship in Lemont, IL as the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago’s (HTGC) consecration was held in a grand manner last weekend.

The HTGC complex has two temples in its premises: a Rama temple and another Ganesh-Shiva-Durga (GSD) temple. The GSD’s temple’s towers were consecrated in a Mahakumbhabhishekam event held over four days from August 15th to 18th. Kumbhabhishekam is a very special event that is done once every twelve years, primarily to infuse and enhance the divinity and spiritual power to the presiding deities, through several religious rituals. Kumbha means the head or crown of the temple and Abhishekam refers to sacred bathing, hence the event involves bathing of the temple towers with holy sanctified waters in an elaborate ceremony.

It has been over eighteen months since the work began on the various activities related to the consecration. The temple administration constituted various committees that worked hard leading to the main consecration event. Religious artisans from India were brought in to undertake detailed renovation and repair work. In the main sanctum sanctorum, the idols in the temple were re-energized using multitude of rituals.

The consecration events began with worship and homams in specially constructed yaagashaalas and havan-kunds dedicated to presiding deities. Elaborate rituals were conducted on four days after which the main consecration procedure, pouring of holy waters over the temple towers, was carried out. The holy waters that were infused with divinity by rituals were carried by the priests to the top of the towers before they were poured amidst chanting of vedic hyms. An added delight was the showering of flowers on the entire temple by a helicopter.

The temple authorities had invited fifteen vedic scholars from all over U.S to conduct the religious rituals. In addition, several spiritual and cultural programs were also held. Spiritual discourses by Swami Ishathmananda (Vivekananda Society of Chicago) and Swami Sarvapriyananda (Vedanta Society of New York) drew large crowds. Indian Consul General in Chicago Mr. Sudhakar Dalela, and U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi were among the dignitaries who joined the celebrations.

Special events at the consecration included a bilva-offering at the top of temple towers by devotees (bilva samarpanam), oil-smearing on the idols by devotees (thaila samarpanam), and a Mahalakshmi Lalitha Devi Pooja by women. The celebrations concluded with a dance drama on Shiva-Parvathi wedding by Natya Dance Theater.

The temple administration, working in tandem with the local authorities, had made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the large number of devotees thronging the temple had divine and pleasurable experience. The devotees were treated to sumptuous meals on all the four days. Special transportation and parking arrangements ensured that devotees, especially the seniors and elders, had a comfortable experience.

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