The Vision Forms in the Late 1970s

Thousands of Hindu families migrated from India to the United States from the early 1960’s seeking higher education and challenging careers. As the families grew and settled down, it became apparent that there was a necessity to actively encourage the continuation of traditional Indian religious and cultural values. Several Asian Indian organizations arose during this period, providing some cultural avenues, but there was no religious institution which Hindus could call "home."

It was the year 1977, the then-president of Telugu Association of Greater Chicago, Sri Tirupatiah Tella, met with a small group of enthusiasts including Sri Galla Naidu, Sri Umapathi R.Cattamanchi, and Sri B. Chandrasekhar Reddy, to discus the possibility of founding a religious organization and building a temple. Other pioneers who promoted and worked for this cause were Sri C. Natarajan, the late Sri B. Seshadri, Sri P. Krishnan, Sri M. Pattabhiraman, Sri Surendra Goel, and the late Sri Arun Mansukhani. An ad-hoc committee was formed, and they met weekly in the residence of Sri Seshadri at Oak Park. "The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago" was established as a not-for-profit organization to encompass the needs of all Hindus. The first General Body meeting was held in December 1977 and the first Governing Body for 1978 was officially elected.

Sri Vidyasagar Dharmapuri, the first president, and other enthusiasts such as Sri Galla Naidu, Sri P. Rajagopalan and Sri B. Chandra Reddy had a macro-vision to integrate all Hindus from various parts of India. Their panoramic vision included a place of worship, a place of cultural and fine arts activities, religious and language schools, and a library.

During Sri Dharmapuri’s two-year term as president, the organization made significant progress. In order to meet the religious needs of all the Hindus from the various parts of India, it was decided to have the Pradhana Devata (main deity) as Sri Rama along with Sita Devi, Sri Lakshmana, Hanuman, and Lord Vinayaka. The next challenge was to find an appropriate site to build a traditional temple. Sri G.C. Roy, Sri V. Donaparthi, Sri Darshan Rawal, Sri Y. Yadlapudi and others were involved in the search. Over thirty possible locations in the Greater Chicago area were surveyed. After considering all options, the final selection of the site in Lemont was made with the help of Sri U. Cattamanchi, Sri K. Ramakrishna, and Sri R. Gorrepati. The beautiful wooded bluff hill-side property, with its adjacent waterfalls, was 17.6 acres and located 1.8 miles south of I-55.

The Early 1980s: Turning the Dream into Reality

In 1980, Sri Manoharlal Rathi became the second president and during his tenure, the organization made significant attempts to increase membership and organized several fund-raising programs. "Ramayana,” a dance drama, performed by the students of Natyakalaiayam and choreographed by Smt. Hema Rajagopalan raised closed to $35,000. Other fund-raising activities included a solo dance recital by Smt. Hema Rajagopalan on June 7, 1980. Many outstanding artists, including Parveen Sultana, also helped to raise funds. With the tireless work of Sri Prem Sharma, cultural committee chairperson, Sri Sudhir Kumar, Sri Harish Thakar, Sri Vishnu Vaidya, Sri Surendra Goel, Sri Kamalakar Naidu and Sri P. Rajagopalan enough funds were collected to allow cash purchase of land on Aug. 8, 1980.

The enthusiasm and momentum gathered; other organizations showed interest, and in 1981, Kannada Kuta helped raise $4,000 by hosting a dance recital by Smt. Malini Sampath. Architects from India and the U.S. were chosen to draw a master plan, and a l7-member building committee headed by Sri Umapathi Cattamanchi with the active support of Sri B. Goel worked tirelessy to design an architecture that would satisfy all regional Hindu groups.

It was a monumental task to have the master plan approved in December 1981, and Sri Sthapathi Ganapathi from Andhra Pradesh was appointed as the chief Indian architect. 

The Mid to Late 1980s: HTGC Builds and Grows

Sri Somapalli Naidu was elected as the third president and with the help of Sri P. Rajagopalan and Sri P. Paudel an approval for a left-turn lane from Lemont Road into the proposed temple was obtained from Illinois Department of Transportation. The temple-complex model was exhibited at the Second Convention of Asian Indians in America at the Palmer House in Chicago May 29-31, 1982.

His holiness Gurudeva Sivaya Subramaniya Swami from Hawaii met with a few dedicated volunteers on Nov. 3, 1982, and, impressed with the enthusiasm he encountered, promised a statute of Lord Vinayaka, which was promptly delivered on Nov. 12, 1982. The Vinayaka was initially housed at the residence of P. Rajagopalan in Lombard, where worship ceremonies commenced on Friday, Nov. 19, 1982. In the absence of a formal priest, many members of the religious committee offered their assistance. On Jan. 12, 1983, a statue of Lord Vinayaka originally requested arrived from Andhra Pradesh. The worship services were moved to 5200 Thatcher Rd., Downers Grove, Illinois. This location drew large members of devotees, and the Ramanavami celebrations drew 400 members. Religious services such as upanayanams, annamuhurtha, Satyanarayana puja and Harikatha were made available. A nadaswaram concert by Namagiri Pettai Krishnan and an amateur theatrical program, "Abhignana Shakuntalam," (a play by Kalidasa) were the cultural highlights of this year.

In January 1984, Sri Krishna P. Reddy was elected as the fourth president. In the meantime the site of worship was moved to 215 Romeo Rd., Romeoville, Illinois. The site development proceeded during this time and on June 17, 1984, Sri N. T. Rama Rao, then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, laid the foundation stone for the temple after three days of Yagna ceremony. More than 800 Hindus congregated to witness this historical event. In October 1984, a fund raising dinner raised $55,000 and loan guarantees of $680,000 were pledged. Due to outstanding work of devotees including Sri K. Chawla, Sri U. Nimmagadda and Sri A. Mahajan, the financial position improved and on January 25, 1985, a cold wintry day, the Prathishtapana of Sri Gnyana Vinayaka was performed at the Ganesh Mandir. Two priests made available all religious services and the temple had its doors open 9 am to 9 pm.

In 1985, with Sri Krishna P. Reddy as president, the temple celebrated Mahasivarathri, Holi, Janmashtami, Hanuman Jayanthi, Ganesh Chathurthi, Varalakshmi Puja, Navarathri and Diwali. Several dignitaries including Sri Morarji Desai, Swami Chinamayananda, Sivaya Subramaniya Swami, Dr. E. Vedavyas, veena artist Suma Sudhindra and vocalist Jyothi Ramachandra all contributed in various ways to enrich the diversity of the temple. Lata Mangeshkar, the nightingale of India, formally inaugurated the Ganesh Mandir on June 11, 1985. A Hindu Heritage Youth Camp was sponsored in conjunction with Chinmaya Mission of Chicago in June 1985 in Elmhurst, Illinois. In April 1985, a contract to build Ramalaya was signed and by fall the foundation had been laid and the walls of the basement were completed. Phase I, including 8000-square-foot area, Garbhagudi and Ardhamantapam and Mahamandhir, was complete. Through the generous contributions of devotees and the support of organizations like The National Republic Bank and the State Bank of India, Phase II work began. This phase included the 17-foot tall Anivottimantapam, Hanuman temple, the 95-foot tall Rajagopuram and the Lord Venkateswara, Sri Devi and Bhudevi and Radha-Krishna temples. In 1985, additional land (more than 2 acres) with a house to the north of the present site were purchased, bringing the total area to 20 acres. By this time regular prasadam distribution on weekends was started by the efforts of Smt. Avanti Gutta and Smt. Subhadra Ramachandra.

The year 1986, with Sri Krishna P. Reddy as president, saw many youth-related activities. The Sunday School was started on alternate weeks and a group for teenagers met once a month. A grand fund-raising event on Navy Pier reminded everyone of the enthusiasm and talents of the youth. On May 3, 1986, the Sivalinga Prathishtapana was performed and was made possible due to generous donation of His Holiness Sivaya Subramanya Swami. 1986 also saw the shilpis work long hours under the guidance of Sri Sthapathi. The Rama Koti in the form of Rama Shakti arrived from India and locally, the devotees personal worship in the form of "Sri Rama Jaya Rama" was written millions of times. 1986 was a landmark year in temple’s history: under the strong leadership of Sri Krishna P. Reddy, the Kumbhabhishekam of Sri Rama Temple was celebrated between June 27 and July 6 with full religious ceremonies.

In 1987, President Sri K. Chawla focused on increasing the attendance of devotees and organized the inauguration of The Radha Krishna Temple. The Ram Sevak Samaj was initiated by the finance committee, and along with Sanjeevani, the Tree of Life project, helped to bring in additional donations. This year marked the celebration of Diwali with illumination, which attracted thousands of devotees. The Indianization of the Ramalaya Rajagopuram was completed and the Sunday School was growing in popularity.

The temple made further progress in 1988, under the presidency of Sri Upendranath Nimmagadda. The marble deity of Durga Devi was delivered and the Devi Jagran attracted considerable devotees. This activity helped in raising funds towards the expansion of the Ganesha-Shiva-Durga (GSD) temple. 

Ushering in the 1990s

Youth participation was actively sought by the president Sri Amrish Mahajan in 1989 and 1990 and public relations had improved tremendously. Dignitaries such as Indian Ambassador Abid Hussain visited the temple. The number of devotees increased, and the architectural plan was drawn for a community center and for the expansion of GSD temple. Additional adjoining land with a house was purchased, bringing the total land area to 22 acres.

In 1991, Sri U. Nimmagadda, president, encouraged cultural programs like "Kumarasambhavam" by Natyakalalayam, and concerts by Padmabhushan Sri Balamurali Krishna and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia to raise funds. A new outdoor event, Greeshma Mela, was held for the first time. Live music, mouth-watering delicacies from all parts of India and games for youngsters marked this social event. "In The Wings," a new youth branch was founded and they regularly celebrated Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Youth Nite. Plans for GSD temple expansion were finalized.

In 1992, Sri M. Hanumadass, president, convinced the General Body to proceed with the expansion of the GSD temple and the expansion of parking lot to include additional 200 cars. An American construction contract was awarded and the Indianization of GSD temple was commenced in the Kalinga Dynasty style. The Ratnagarbhanyasa of GSD was performed in 1993, and the shilpis from India arrived. In 1994, Sri B.L. Sharma, as president, focused on the GSD Indianization. In the summer of 1994, the Kumbhabhishekam of the Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Lord Subrahmanya and Devi Parvathi were performed. In December 1994, the General Body approved to proceed with the new water/ sewer system and the expansion of the existing parking lot. A dance drama by Vempati Chinnasatyam Troupe was one of the highlights of this year.

In 1995, president Sri Ashutosh Gupta, along with a several devotees, was instrumental in seeking funds for the Main Entrance Gate project. A grand Kathak dance program by Pandit Birju Maharaj was an outstanding cultural event. The Annual Fund Raising dinner, with Congressman Henry Hyde as the chief guest, was a grand success. The Greeshma Mela was now a very well attended annual event and an open house luncheon was organized for the residents of Lemont. Two ad-hoc committees were named - one to form Akshaya, a group of young professionals, and one to develop the archives of the temple records. Ekantha Seva, a music program, was started on second Sundays; Hanuman Puja was started on every Saturday.

In 1996, Smt. Sudha Rao, president, along with several devotees, celebrated the Kalashastapana for the Durga shrine and Kumbhabhishekam of Ganesha-Shiva-Durga temple. The American phase of the Main Gate project was completed. Other activities included a vocal ugalbandhi concert by Sri T. N. Seshagopalan and Sri Rashid Khan, "Jaya Jaya Shandara," a dance presentation by Rajarajeswari School of Dance, "Divya Chetna," a dance program by Natyakalalayam, and a vocal concert by Smt. Sudha Raghunathan. A new Deepalakshmi Puja was introduced for Diwali. Two additional ad hoc committees were formed - Cost Containment and Landscaping. The Humanitarian efforts included a bone marrow donor drive and a walkathon to benefit disabled children; a "Grandparents’ Day" was also started.

In 1997, President Sri G.L.N. Reddy focused on the Indianization of Ramalaya, priest quarters, the Bluff Road culvert and Main Gate entrances, parking lot improvements, and the water/sewer project of immediate importance. Several new programs were initiated: Adhyatmika Samvaad, mediation and yoga classes, Aashirvad Puja and the annual family sponsorship of religious functions for $501. Five new ad-hoc committees – mailing lists, premises reservations, Community Center, priest quarters and sewer/ water/ parking – were created to realize some of the goals set forth earlier and serve the needs of more than 13,000 Hindu families in the Greater Chicago area and beyond. 

21st Century New era and Goals

In 2001, with Sri Madhava B. Reddy as the president, HTGC coordinated relief efforts and collected donations amounting to $28,000 for the Gujarat, India earth quake. The temple also held a fund raising dinner and collected funds to assist the victims of the September 11, 2001 New York, World Trade Center tragedy. The Community Center grand opening ceremony was held on March 31, 2001.

In 2002 and 2003, Sri Subrahmanyam Vemuri was the president. During this time, the Vivekananda Mantapam Pro- ject was completed on time and below the budget. The original estimated cost of this project was over $800,000 and under the leadership of Sri L.Bhima Reddy, the project was reengineered with a revised estimate of $340,000 including Indianization.The Indianization work began in May 2002 with the arrival of eight shilpis from India. The entire project was completed at a cost of $320,000 below the revised budget of $340,000 and well below the original estimate of $800,000. The Mandap was formally opened on November 17, 2002 during the festive days of Diwali celebrations. The Vivekananda Day was celebrated on July 12, 2003 with largest youth articipation. The appeal of Swami Vivekananda transcends language, regional, national, and even international barriers unifying Hindus around the world. The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago was to become a pilgrimage center for Hindus around the world when the Meditation Hall and Lecture Halls are built. The Prasadam Kitchen was renovated in the fall of 2002, also under the leadership of Sri L. Bhima Reddy. The project included installation of make up air unit, new flooring, cabinets, and ceiling. The kitchen area was expanded from 335 to 680 square feet. The devotees donated over $40,000 to cover the entire cost of the modifications. Constructed in 1986, the Rajagopuram needed repairs to preserve the delicate artwork. The renovation work began under the leadership of Committee Chair Sri L. Bhima Reddy in June 2003. The project was completed at a cost of $67,500 in November 2003. Every enthusiastic devotee had an opportunity to take part in this exclusive event of “Pushpa Pradanam” at the very top of the Rajagopuram by climbing the stairs of the scaffolding. The Dasavathara project was also completed by utilizing the shilpis in the winter and the plaque was unveiled on April 6, 2003 during the “Rama Navami” celebrations.

In 2004, with Sri K.Virupaksha Reddy as the elected president, the executive committee requested that regional Indian associations such as Telugu Association of Greater Chicago, Kannada Kuta, and Tamil Sangam among others avail the temple’s facilities for their programs. The rental rates were reduced to make the temple’s facilities more affordable to these local associations. Silver Kavachas for Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were donated by Srimathi Usha and Dr. Thodur Ranganathan. On the occasion of Pavitrotsavam, a beautiful golden Rama Mala was donated by an anonymous devotee. For the first time ever “Samuhika Satadampathi Satyanarayana Puja” was held to encourage group activities. More than 120 couples participated in the puja which has since become an annual event. Pavitrotsavam was held in October 2004 to purify the Rama Temple after the renovations. The Krishna and Sri Venkateshwara Temples were Indianized and the entire external structure was renovated under the leadership of Sri L. Bhima Reddy Several hundred devotees sponsored the Pavitrotsam and donated more than $125,000 on this occasion. The collected funds exceeded all the renovation expenses. Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago actively partici- pated in the Asian Tsunami Relief efforts. During the last 4 days of the year 2004 alone, the collections amounted to $20,000 and total collections for relief efforts were $70,000. The accounting system was overhauled by introducing purchase order process, proper bill entry procedures, electronically informing the Board with detailed revenues, ex- penses, and unpaid bills. A new user friendly Database Software developed by Sri Krishna Aerabati was implemented at the Front Desk. This eliminated manual paper work and reduced expenses. The revenues increased by 12% to $1,860,000 from $1,662,000 and expenses decreased by 18% to $1,085,000 from $1,314,000. The cost controls led to re- tiring debt by $384,000 in 2004, and by $1,300,000 in the three year period 2004-2006. Eight shilpies from India reno- vated the Ramalaya. Numbers of priests were increased to eight to meet increasing demand for off-site priest services. 

In 2005, Smt. Sukanya Reddy was the elected president. Tsunami struck South East Asia including southern parts of India just 9 days before the New Year and relief work was already in progress everywhere in the world to help the victims. In order to help the Tsunami victims in India, the temple raised $68,900. These funds were channeled through Rama Krishna Mission to build an Orphan Center in Tamilnadu, India. Ramanavami was celebrated in a grandiose fashion with all the temple’s past presidents playing the role of "Pelli Peddalu" (the honored guests of the wed- ding) and Religious Committee Chair, Dr. Vijaya Paruchuru leading the "Pelli Ahvanam" (the wedding invitation). All the traditional Hindu festivals such as Mahasivarathri, Holi, Ugadi, Sriramanavami, Dasara, Diwali, etc. were cele- brated with large participation of community members. A successful 'Padayaatra '(walkathon) was organized on July 24, 2005. More than 300 devotees braved the 108-degree heat index and participated in the Padyaatra with about $8,000 raised during the event. Dashalaksha Kumkum Archana with Lalitha Sahasranama was held on August 6th through 20th. This was a unique event almost like once-in-a-life time opportunity for most of the devotees. This was very well-attended, and the temple raised $87,000 during this 2 week-long observance. Temple incurred only $4,000 in expenses on this event. Debt reduction was the major emphasis in 2005 and a total of $485,000 principal was paid off in the year. L. Bhima Reddy initiated and successfully negotiated to reduce the loan mortgage rate from 6.5% to 5.625%. The accounting software was changed over to the user-friendly QuickBooks. The revenues increased by 5% to $1,934,000 from $1,860,000 and expenses decreased by 6.4% to $1,159,000 from $1,330,000.

In 2006, with Dr. Sudha Rao as the president, Gupta Dining Hall was modified to accommodate class rooms for Sunday school. Under the direction of Finance Chair Sri Sarode Pundaleeka, over $200,000 cash was raised to build removable partitions for use as class rooms which are distraction-free and low in noise. A Leadership Day was organ- ized for the benefit of all the Board of Trustees and the Committee Chairs on February 12, 2006. The presentations by reputed attorneys covered a range of topics like Fiduciary Responsibilities of Not-for-Profit Board members, Tax De- velopments and rulings of special interest to Not-for-Profits Organizations. A Regional Parliament of Sanatana Dharma Practices and Beliefs was conducted on September 10, 2006. Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Sikh faiths were rep- resented. More than 25 organizations from the area participated with more than 200 individuals in attendance. Each shared their organization’s goals and activities. The same afternoon, over 25 young adult representatives from 16 dif- ferent organizations attended a “Vision 2020” session. Prize winning essays on “Vision of a Hindu Temple in North America in the year 2020” were read aloud by the authors. An orphanage center in Nagapattinam, India was built us- ing the Asian Tsunami disaster relief fund of $70,000. Trustee Dr. Upendranath Nimmagadda co-ordinated the distri- bution of these funds to the Sri Ramakrishna Seva Sangam. The official opening of the orphanage wing of “Seva Yoga” and out-patient clinic took place on July 7th, 2006. Helped by a large donation from trustee Sri L. Bhima Reddy, HTGC cleared the long standing loan of over 14.7 lakh rupees which included the accumulated interest to Tirumalai Tirupathi Devasthanam in Andhra Pradesh, India.

In 2007, with Smt. Prasanna Reddy as the president and her proactive leadership, the efforts focused on cleaning and beautification of the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago and improving temple’s finances. In keeping with these goals, carpets were replaced in both the Ganesh Shiva Durga and Rama Temples with funds specifically donated for their purchase by a generous donor Sri Balvinder singh. Ganesh Shiva Durga Temple Renovation was taken up and the Parikrama for the Rama Temple was completed within the budget with 100% donor funds. Sangeetha Kalanidhi Pad- mabhushan Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna did the ribbon cutting ceremony on the auspicious Vinayaka Chathurti day, Sep 15, 2007. During 2007, steps to Ramalaya were completed with indianized exterior doors for all four Mandirs that came from India. Gold plated Kavachams for all the six Garbhagudi doors were installed. Required funds amounting to $60,000 were donated by the devotees in 2007. Kitchen and dining area renovation were scheduled to be carried out after Diwali. Ganesha-Shiva-Durga Temple Kumbhabhishekam under the leadership of Dr. Bansi Lal Sharma /Sri Tilak Marwaha was held from June 13-17, 2007 and it was a grand success. Donations were nearly $200,000 and the expenses were less than $55,000. Under the guidance of Sri L. Bhima Reddy and Committee Chair Sri Satish Amrut- hur, many volunteers worked long hours in renovating the temple. Some of the renovation tasks completed in- clude polishing and gold plating of all the Kalashas and Prabhavalis, new wall-to-wall carpet, new tiles, repairing cracks, both interior and exterior painting. A total of 8 priests performed re-sanctification ceremonies. After the Kumbhabhishekam, the Mandalabhishekam was performed and concluded on August 4, 2007. Several sacred religious programs were initiated during the Navarathri and Dassera. The shilpis made matching vigrahas of Lakshmi and Sarswathi, and were placed on both sides of Durga Mata. Special Lakshmi and Saraswathi pujas were performed. Every day music concerts were held in both the Ganesh Siva Durga and Rama Temples. Sri Venkateswara Jayanthi was celebrated over 3 days from October 19 through 21, 2007. Unjal Seva was conducted with 600 oil deepams and eleven Upacharas were performed with eleven different musical performances. On the Dassera day, Lord Venkates- wara was decorated with devotees sponsored new pure gold Abhaya and Kathiya Hasthams. On Dassera day over 3,500 devotees witnessed the Ravana Dahanam and fireworks. This large attendance enabled the Prasadam Kitchen to set an all time record revenues for a Dassera day. One of the highlights of the Dassera program was the inauguration of the long awaited Steps (Sophanam) to Sri Ramalaya. The generosity of two families enabled completion of this project. It is a blissful experience to climb the 36 steps to Sri Ramalaya.

In 2008, with Sri Subrahmanyam Vemuri as the president, the Board of trustees approved on May 18, 2008 the Meditation Hall location adjacent to the Swami Vivekananda Statue. A harbinger of the fascinating dream was to un- fold, the Swami Vivekananda day celebration on July 13, 2008 was a phenomenal success beyond all expectations. The former Indian Ambassador-at-large Dr. Bhisma Kumar Agnihotri was the chief guest. Enthusiastic ground breaking for the Ganesh Shiva Durga Temple Expansion took place on November 9, 2008. The Board of Trustees approved the award of the contract for construction at $969,000 at a Special Board Meeting on November 1, 2008. In October 2008, for the first time, grand five-day festive Brahmotsavam for Lord Rama was celebrated at the HTGC. All through the five days the temple reverberated with the Vedic chantings, Holy Havans, and colorful festive processions with the richly decorated vahanas specially made in India for the temple. The five vahanas that were used in the procession are Gaja Vahana, Hamsa Vahana, Sesha Vahana, Hanuman Vahana, and Garuda Vahana. With the participation of six scholarly priests and Nadaswara Vidwans, the grand celebrations made lasting impressions on the devotees and the Brahmotsavam was to become a regularly scheduled yearly religious event.

In 2009, with Sri L. Bhima Reddy as the president, major goals were established for the year namely, the execution of Ganesh Shiva Durga Expansion and Meditation Hall projects. Both of these have been mostly accomplished. In ad- dition, gold plated door Kavachams were installed for the Garbhagudis of Lords Ganesha, Shiva, Venkateswara and Subramanya. As mandated by the city of Lemont, side railings were installed for the Ramalaya Main Steps. Now the devotees can use them to climb to the temple; a sturdy, beautiful new sliding gate was installed for the Maha Dwaram; wide concrete ramps were constructed on the north side of the Ramalaya to pull the Vahanas on the Parikrama by the devotees; the Ganesh-Shiva-Durga Temple is under expansion to enable seating of more devotees in the prayer hall. As per the general body mandate all the funds were specifically raised for this project and no operational funds were used. So far $1,240,000 was been spent on this expansion and anyicipated another $120,000 for the construction of Parvathi Devi Vimanam and Indianization of the Ganesha Shiva Durga temple expanded area; a new Meditation Hall is under construction for spiritual activities use. Approximately $900,000 was specifically raised for this building. A single donation of $250,000 made by Dr. Virendra & Smt. Bala Bisla enabled this project to become a realty. Another $150,000 is needed for the Indianization of this hall. Record attendance and participation was evident in all func- tions starting with 2009 new year day through Thai Poosam, Maha Shiva Rathri, Sri Rama Navami, Brahamotsavam, Maharudram and Chandi Homam, Sri Krishna Janmastami, Sri Raghavendra Aradhana, the five day celebration of Sri Vinayaka Chaturdhi, Geeshma Mela or better known as the Summer Festival, Devi Navarathri, Sri Venkateswara Jayanthi, Dassara, Deepavali and Skanda Sashti. This year, the Sri Rama Navami had a unique feature in that Dr. N. Sudarsana Rao, Chairman of Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple of Aurora and his team of devotees graced the occasion with their presence and presented the Managaladravyams to Goddess Sita Devi. For Vinayaka Chaturthi, gold plated doors were installed for the Sri Ganesha’s Gharbalayam on the first day of the festival. Diwali attendance was overwhelming and the Prasdam revenues set the all time single day record of $16,400. The revenues increased by 3% to $2,279,000 from $2,220,000 in 2008 and non capital expenses were $1,240,000 against $1,204,000 in 2008.

In 2010 with Sri L. Bhima Reddy as president for the 2nd year Repair of Rajagopuram with the help of dedicated shilpis from India was completed in a record time of six weeks. Renovation and repainting of Krishna Mandhir, Parvathi Devi Gharbalayam external work and the improved ambience of the Hallway leading to Ramalaya temple were successfully completed. Completed concrete walkways (Parikrama) around GSD Temple for devotees to walk and perform the pradakshinas Kumbabhishekam of Parvathi Devi Mandir was performed in a grand manner in July 2010. Meditation hall in the Vivekananda center is fully operational with Yoga and meditation classes. External Indianization is under progress to be completed in 2011. Considerable amount of improvement in services, efficiency and facilities maintenance are in place. Temple has entered into electronic age by emails and surveys to seek users input with reference to temple related activities. HTGC for the second year in row has been rated No. 1 in aspects such as religious services, maintenance and prasadam services and overall devotee satisfaction. This is based on survey by Talk of the Town, a Detroit, MIchigan based organization which evaluates and surveys similar religious organizations in Chicago Metropolitan area. We acquired Mayoora (Peacock), Mooshika, Simha, Vrishabha and Padmasura Vahanams. These enable utsavamurthy processions on beautiful Vahanas around GSD temple during all the religious festivals.

2010 Revenues of $2,200,000 surpassed the budgeted amount $2,100,000. HTGC mortgage was rearranged with Chase Bank to reduce the interest burden and the loan will be fully paid off by November 2014. HTGC was able to get a 3.40 % interest rate compared to the existing 6.25%. This results in about $5,000 lower interest amount per month.

HTGC mortgage was rearranged with Chase Bank to reduce the interest burden and the loan will be fully paid off by November 2014. HTGC was able to get a 3.40 % interest rate compared to the existing 6.25%. This results in about $5,000 lower interest amount per month.

Rama Temple has become a unique place and a hub for Religious, cultural, Hindu Dharma, Humanitarian, Fine arts, spiritual centre, Sunday school, Yoga, Medical check up, Akshaya for youth, Senior citizen get together. Also sup- ports yearly Holi, Spring Festival, Greeshma mela, Walkathon, promoting cultural programs in liaison with India Consulate and hosting different language association programs.

25 years of temples growth and progress has been possible with the leadership of many presidents, generous donors, Volunteers, devotees and visitors from all walks of life. Rama Temple is ready and looking ahead for 25 more years of progress, a place of worship and peace for many more devotees.

© 2018 Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago