Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA -7

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA

Radha Madhav Dham, Austin, Texas

Radha Madhav Dham, founded in 1990 under the name Barsana Dham (originally called International Society of Divine Love since 1975)   by fugitive Swami Prakashanand Saraswati (Swamiji),  is a large temple and ashram complex outside of Austin, Texas.  Radha Madhav Dham is a place of pilgrimage reminiscent of similar locales in India  During the 1990's, young residents were repeatedly sexually assaulted by Swamiji.  In April 2011, JKP Barsana Dham's new name was JKP Radha Madhav Dham.  Radha Madhav Dham is the main US center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.  The ashram is led by a board of managing members, headed by board president Mr. Raj Goel.  An ashram press release dated 4/28/2011 announced the name change.
According to articles in the International Journal of Humanities and Peace and Associated Press, Radha Madhav Dham was one of the largest Hindu Temples in the United States in 2000 and 1995 respectively.  According to Harvard Plurism Project, the Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple at Radha Madhav Dham remains to be one of the largest Hindu Temples in the United States.  It is the oldest Hindu Temple in Texas.
Radha Madhav Dham is a nonprofit, religious, educational, and charitable organization  that follows the path of raganuga bhakti.


Radha Madhav Dham (Barsana Dham), was established in 1990, as the main US Center of the International Society of Divine Love, which was founded in the 1970s.  Radha Madhav Dham was built to be a representation of the holy land of Braj in India where Radha and Krishna are believed by Hindus to have appeared, around 5,000 years ago.  It has been designed as a place of pilgrimage in America  Areas of Radha Madhav Dham have been developed to be the places for meditation  Places of Braj like Govardhan, Radha Kund, Prem Sarovar, Shyam Kuti, etc. are represented in Radha Madhav Dham where a natural stream named Kalindi represents the Yamuna river of Vrindaban.
In 1991, around 60 devotees moved into single-family homes and dormitories on the grounds  During the 1990's, young residents were repeatedly sexually assaulted by Swamiji  In 2002, the International Society of Divine Love was officially renamed JKP-Barsana Dham to associate itself with the Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat
On March 6, 2011, after a meeting at Barsana Dham, Swamiji jumped bail.  In April 2011, following the "disappearance of its founder and leading guru" Swamiji after his conviction on 20 charges of sexual indecency with a child at Barsana Dham, based on the allegations of 3 adults who had accused him of groping them 15 years earlier, the organization changed its name.  During the trial, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati was barred from entering the Barsana Dham.  According to the Austin American-Statesman, "Barsana Dham has moved aggressively on the Internet to wipe out all traces of its connection to the guru. The name of the ashram has been changed to JKP Radha Madhav Dham. On its new website, pictures or mentions of Prakashanand are nowhere to be found."
In 2012, on the one year anniversary of the trial, Vrinda Devi, Radha Madhav Dham spokeswoman, stated that "What we've been trying to do since then is moving forward." She added that, "As far as Swamiji's presence, we've subdued that in order to go on and survive as a minority religious community."

Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple

Shree Radha Rani has many names.  Raseshwari is one of Her names and comes from the Upanishads.  The Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple at Radha Madhav Dham is the first Hindu temple built in Austin, Texas, and one of the largest Hindu temples in the USA.  The temple encompasses about 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2) and is topped by a 90-foot (27 m)-high golden dome
The main prayer hall of the Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple is decorated with the pictorial representations of teachings from ancient Hindu scriptures, which are captioned in both Sanskrit and English  The philosophy of the Hindu scriptures are described in a continuous panel on the sides of the hall. A realistic depiction of the sky is portrayed on the ceiling.
The temple architecture is a blend of north and south Indian, and modern styles of architecture.  It was designed by two architects from India.  The 90-foot (27 m) high temple dome is made of white and blue granite and gold. The tower is in the traditional shape, but it's built out of granite, whereas most in India are sandstone.  The artwork of the temple's shrine was hand-crafted by 15 artisans from South India. The artisans carved the pillars and ceilings with images of peacocks and floral patterns. There are 84 columns and five levels in the building with covered area of 35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2). The temple was built using special construction techniques and processes that would allow it to last for more than a thousand years.  A peach orchard, gardens of roses, jasmine and marigolds and wandering peacocks decorate the temple grounds.
Festivals and celebrations at the temple attract up to 8000 people.  The temple and ashram complex is a center for traditional Indian cultural activities and weddings.  Weekly services are held every Sunday morning from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. followed by a community lunch. Approximately 1000 families attend Radha Madhav Dham. 96% of these are Indian, the remaining 4% being Westerners and people of Caribbean descent.
According to Rinehart (2006)  and Lee & Nadeau (2011),  Radha Madhav Dham is an example of how builders of Hindu Temples in the US have replicated the sacred Geography of India, providing a familiar space and experience for Hindus from India, and fostering an identification with their adopted homeland.


Radha Madhav Dham celebrates all the major Hindu festivals  which attract thousands.  The Temple is home to one of the biggest Janmashtami celebrations in North America.  To commemorate the yearly Rath Yatra festival at the temple, Oct 27th 2001 was named 'Radha Rani Rath Yatra Day' by Austin Mayor Kirk Watson.  The 2011 Rath Yatra celebration was attended by "Bhajan Samrat" Anup Jalota.  Various other Mayors of Austin and Governor of Texas have visited or offered commendations to Barsana Dham.  More than 50,000 visitors from both Indian and Western communities participate in the lessons, religious programs and celebrations there  The celebrations are:
  • Maha Shivratri  
  • Holi
  • Ram Navm
  • Mela Fair April 26, 2008
  • Jhulan Leela
  • Krishn Janmashtmi
  • Radha Ashtmi
  • Radha Rani Rath Yatra
  • Sharat Poornima
  • Deepavali
  • Govardhan Puja  

Retreats and family camps

At various times throughout the year, the temple offers special weekend family retreats, mini-intensives, and weekend seva retreats. These retreats and programs include Hindi, yoga and Indian dance classes. Radha Madhav Dham has been named one of the "best places to relax, reflect, and renew".  Radha Madhav Dham also conducts tours for schools, other educational institutions and community groups.  In 2007, the temple and ashram was featured in National Geographic's "The 100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life".
Radha Madhav Dham also organizes free family camps and "Basics of Hinduism" courses  in Hindu temples in Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and New York.
Each fall, the Texas Yoga Retreat, organized by Charles MacInerney and Ellen Smith is held at the ashram. This retreat provides an opportunity to experience ashram living along with 250-plus other yoga enthusiasts  There is also a new year retreat organized by Radha Madhav Dham. This weekend long stay involves relaxation and meditation. Families are welcome to the yoga classes and meditation sessions, and a 24-hour continuous chant known as Akhand Sankirtan takes place from noon on New Year's Eve to noon the following day.

Educational and charitable activities

Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, Radha Madhav Dham has published a wide selection of writings, video and audio recordings of Swami Prakashanand Saraswati.
Radha Madhav Dham opened its doors to Hurricane Katrina evacuees, and executed a fundraising drive in its wake.  In September 2008, Radha Madhav Dham launched a fundraising drive for victims of the flooding in Bihar. The immediate goal of the drive was to raise $150,000 for relief efforts.  In the same month, hundreds of evacuees of Hurricane Ike were given food and shelter at Radha Madhav Dham.  Radha Madhav Dham is also active in a number of local and global charitable activities including housing rehabilitation work in Central Texas, flood relief efforts for India, and the ongoing support of hospital operations oversees.  The temple hosted 300-400 evacuees from Hurricane Rita in 2005.  Radha Madhav Dham has organized charitable walks in Dallas to raise funds for its $2.3 million Kripalu Charitable Hospital in the town of Barsana, India  which was inaugurated in 2008. Besides the hospital in Barsana, JKP Radha Madhav Dham's center in India also opened the 'Kripalu Charitable Hospital' in Mangarh in 2003. That facility provides free diagnostic exams, treatment, surgical procedures, hospitalization, emergency services and medication to hundreds of patients daily.  National eye camps and mother/child welfare programs also have been established throughout India, providing free eye exams, cataract surgery and polio vaccines to those in need
Radha Madhav Dham participates in inter-religious services such as Austin Area Interreligious ministries,  Hindu-Jewish Solidarity Day  and PBS's Many Voices project.  The organization was selected to represent Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in 1993.


Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chicago (Itasca), IL

Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Chicago, IL is a Swaminarayan Hindu temple located in the Chicago suburb of Itasca.  Opened in 1998, it comes under ISSO of the Nar Narayan Dev Gadi (Swaminarayan Sampraday).  It was built at the cost of $10 million, reportedly the most expensive Hindu temple in the Midwest at that time.


Acharya Maharajshree Tejendraprasad Pande inaugurated the temple on 2 August 1998. It is the first Shikharband Swaminarayan temple in the USA. The temple boasts of marriage and banquet facilities and is 34,000 square feet (3,200 m2) in size. The temple claims to have devotees from Islam, Christianity and Buddhism apart from Hindus.[1][4]

10th Anniversary

The temple celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008 with carnival games and raffles, Indian craft exhibits, henna temporary tattoos, historical exhibits, guided tours of the temple, live dance performances and native foods. Indian culture was the focal point of the nine day celebrations. The celebration culminated with a mile long procession with 3 floats attended by people from different parts of the USA, India and England. Of the three floats, the first had children in a cultural representation, the second had pictorial representation of Swaminarayan, with a bejeweled umbrella on the top of the float and the last one had Acharya Maharajshree Koshalendraprasad Pande, the current acharya of the Nar Narayan Dev Gadi who attended the festivities and ascetics. During the two hour procession, women in swirling jewel-toned saris danced to a rhythmic beat on traditional drums. Eleven different cultural performances were organized by temple youth as part of the procession. Officials expected 5000 people to take part in this celebration.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chicago (Wheeling), IL

Shri Swaminarayan Temple, Wheeling is a Swaminarayan Hindu temple located in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling. It comes under the International Swaminarayan Satsang Mandal (Laxmi Narayan Dev Gadi) of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. [1] The temple is also a member of the International Swaminarayan Satsang Organisation.
Opened on May 18, 1991 by Acharya Shree Ajendraprasadji Maharaj, it is built on two acres of land.
Built at a cost of $ 1.7 million, it is a tri spire temple with the spires adorning the front edge of the flat topped building. Surrounded by industrial structures, it is a square shaped, cream coloured structure with a big prayer hall that caters to a 40, 000 strong community and is run entirely by volunteers. The image of Swaminarayan is worshipped in pictorial form along with other avatars of Narayana

Weekend classes (Sunday: 6:00 PM– 7:00 PM)
Three Levels of Spiritual Classes: Every Sunday—6:00  PM to 7:00 PM (CDT) for children:
  • 1.Bal Group: Ages of 6 years to 9 years
  • 2.Younger Group: Ages of 10 years to 14 years
  • 3.Youth Group: Teenagers above 14+ years
  Religious knowledge and practices (the basics)
  Morals and family values
  Respect for adults and all
  Discipline/behavior manners
  Motivate kids for increased religious interest
  How to handle some of the problems at schools
o                                Periodic test/quiz and rewards
o                                Annual cultural program at temple patotsav
o                                Engagement in festival celebrations/samaiya - Matka Utav, Raaslila, etc.
o                                Periodic shibirs
o                                Monthly birthday celebrations (Last Sunday)
o                                Occasional field trips/outings
o                                Rangoli design competition
o                                Hindora preparation 

With Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s blessings and the outstanding enthusiasm of SGBYM members, the SGBYM has exceeded all of its short-term goals and is progressing forward with even higher momentum. The following summarizes SGBYM’s focus and activities.
  • The charter of the SGBYM is – To prepare our children with higher morals and the basic knowledge of Hinduism/Swaminarayan Sampraday, allowing preservation and enhancement of our culture/values for the future.
  • The SGBYM activities are organized to focus on children (age: 6 to about 15) and young adults separately.
  • The energetic young adult group has become an extremely powerful force for almost all activities of the temple. Their contribution has been recognized as a very crucial service in many areas. They are also being guided by the SGBYM coordinators for improved religious knowledge, respect for adults, and better discipline. Their enthusiasm and the service for temple really deserve our deep appreciation.
  • Every Sunday (6:00 PM to 7:00 PM), SGBYM members meet in classrooms and the coordinators provide guidance to equip them better in the religious and other disciplinary areas for the life.
  • Some of the focus areas included during classroom sessions are:
    • Hinduism fundamentals, including Ahinsha, Reincarnation theory, Atma-Parmatma concept, What makes Hinduism unique etc.
    • Overview of Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s life and mission
    • The "6-fold" infrastructure of Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday
    • (Temples, Murties, Scriptures, Acharyas, Saints and Haribhakts)
    • In depth explanation of "Shikshapatri-slokas" and how to practice them in a daily life
    • Sampraday/Hinduism/Festivals/Morals related stories
    • Conceptual guidance for Nitya-Niyam, Puja etc.
    • Encourage kids to carry some level of research on any topic related to sampraday, and present the findings to class for 1-2 minutes
    • Monthly "Sant-Samagam" session (i.e. meet with swami) in the classroom
    • Importance of disciplinary life and the respect for parents, family and all
  • In addition to the classroom activities, the children and young adulats both enjoy presenting the high quality cultural programs to general audience (semi-annually), which are extremely well received and appreciated by all. They also love learning via Shibirs (a religious camp).
  • Kids have proved themselves by reflecting an extra-ordinary performance on the test/quiz (overall 100% result, 25% kids scored 100%, and 50% kids scored between 80%-98%).
  • The coordinators and the temple management do ensure the motivation, rewards and fun activities for these "Eager to Learn" members through monthly birthday celebrations, giving rewards and gifts, arranging the field trips etc.
The credit for the grand success of SGBYM goes only to Lord Shree Swaminarayan, and highly enthusiastic kids/youths of SGBYM. Let’s continue encouraging them through our support and blessings. Your deep confidence in SGBYM coordinators and support is sincerely appreciated
6:30 AM
Mangla Darshan
Shriji Darshan
7:30 AM
Shangar Aarti
Nitya Niyam, Prayer (Naman Hu Karu), etc.
7:45 AM
Morning Kirtan/Katha
Ends at 8:30 PM
11:00 AM
Mahaprasad offering to Shri Swaminarayan Bhagvan (Lunch for Bhagvan)
12:30 PM
Sleeping time for Thakorji
Closing Darshan
3:00 PM
Awaking Thakorji
Shriji Darshan
3:30 PM
Aaj Mare Orde Re, Sarve Sakhi, etc.
5:30 PM
Mahaprasad offering to Shri Swaminarayan Bhagvan (Dinner for Bhagavan)
6:30 PM
Shrji Charitras
Charitra Katha
7:00 PM
Sandhya Aarti
Nitya Niyam
7:15 PM
Dhun / Kirtan

7:30 PM
Vachanamrut Reading
8:00 PM
Chesta / Nitya Niyam

9:00 PM
Sleeping time for Thakorji
Closing Darshan

ISSO of Chicago
Shri Swaminarayan Temple
397 Northgate Parkway
Wheeling, IL 60090
Ph: (847) 808-9980
E-mail: info@ShriSwaminarayan.org 
From Chicago Downtown or Southeast:   Take I-94 W/I-90 W Kenneday Expy W
                                                                    Continue onto I-94 W Edens Expy W   
                                                                    Take Exit 30A toward West Dundee Rd. & Merge onto W Dundee Rd/ IL-68  
                                                                    Turn  Right onto Northgate Pkwy   
                                                                    The Temple on your  Right side
From Northwest Indiana:  Take I-94 W and follow Chicago Downtown direction (OR)
From Northwest Indiana:  Take I-94 W & Continue  I-80 W/ I-294 N/ Tri-State ramp
                                                                    Continue to follow I-294 N (Tri-State Tollway) (Toll road)  
                                                                    Turn  left onto Lake Cook Rd   
                                                                    Turn  left onto Northgate Pkwy   
                                                                    The Temple on your  left side
From Rockford and Far West Towns:       Take southeast on I-90 E/ Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Toll road)  
                                                                   Take the IL-53 N exit toward Rolling Meadows (Partial toll road)  
                                                                   Continue toward IL-53 N and merge onto IL-53 N  
                                                                   Take the IL-68 E exit & Merge onto E Dundee Rd/ IL-68  
                                                                   Turn  left at Northgate Pkwy  
                                                                   The Temple on your  Right side

From Milwaukee & Far North Towns:       Take south on I-94 E  (Toll road)  
                                                                   Take the Lake-Cook Rd exit (Partial toll road)  
                                                                   Keep  right at the fork, merge onto Lake Cook Rd  
                                                                   Turn  left at Northgate Pkwy 

Sri Lakshmi Temple , Ashland, Massachusetts


Opened September 6, 1986, Sri Lakshmi Temple is a large regional Hindu temple located on Waverly Street and is the largest such temple in New England. Sri Lakshmi temple hosts several Hindu functions throughout the year. First housed in a Knights of Columbus Hall in Melrose in 1978 and later in the Needham Village Club, the congregation purchased about 12 acres (49,000 m2) of land from Ashland in 1981.[


Commuter rail service from Boston's South Station is provided by the MBTA with the Ashland station on its Framingham/Worcester Line. The station is accessible from either Pleasant St or from an access road off of Union St that runs behind Ashland Middle School.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Downey, CA

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Downey is a Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Downey. It comes under the Laxmi Narayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday
In 2009, the temple celebrated its 9th anniversary with a Ram Katha, Maha Vishnu Yagna and Maruti Yagna in the presence of Acharya Maharajshree Rakeshprasad Pande.

  • Swaminarayan Mandir
    12147, Lakewood Blvd,
    Downey, CA 90242
    Ph 562-622-0554

Shree Swaminaryan Mandir is affiliated to Shri Kaxminarayan Dev, Vadtal. The deites at the temple include Swaminarayan, Krishna & Radha.

Daily Activites

Daily Aarti - 7.45 am
Thal - 10.45 am
Eveninig Aarti - 7:30 pm

The temple is closed between 12 pm - 4 pm every day

Every Sunday

Satsang - 3 pm to 6pm
Aarti - 6pm

Shivalya of Downtown Chicago, IL

The Shivalya of Downtown Chicago (SDC) is the Hindu temple and cultural center in heart of downtown Chicago, Illinois. Found and supported by humble devotees, SDC serves as a prayer and medication center, for downtown Chicago dwellers.
  • Deities adored at SDC are: Ganesh, Shiva lingam, Shiva parvathi, Durga, Vishnu (Balaji), MahaLakshmi Srirama, Sita and Lakshman, Sri Hanuman, Sri Krishna, and Radha and Sarawasthi
  • Pranaprtishta for Shiva nagabharanam on March 10th 2013 at 9:30 AM.

Weekly events

Daily poojas start at 6:30 PM, followed by a maha aarthi around 7 PM.
  • Monday: Shiva abhishekam
  • Tuesday: Hanuman Chalisa
  • Wednesday: Group recitals
  • Thursday: Sri Krishna bhajans
  • Friday: Vishnu Sahasranama parayanam
  • Weekends are packed with activities for both adults and children.

Major festivals and events

Shivalya celebrates all hindu festivals including:
  • Makara Sankranthi/Pongal/Lohri: January
  • Basant panchami: February
  • Shivaratri: February or March
  • Holi: February or March
  • Ramanavami: April
  • Hanuman Jayanti: April
  • Akshaya Tritiya: May
  • Naga Pachami: August
  • Raksha Bandhan: August
  • Krishna Janmashtami: August
  • Ganesha Chaturthi: September
  • Navaratri/Dasara/Durga Pooja: Sept/October
  • Karwa Chauth: October
  • Deepavali/Diwali: Oct/November
  • Vaikunda Ekadasi: December

Special events

SDC recently celebrated pranaprtishta of deities.
  • Upcoming religious event is Shiva nagabharanam on March 10th 2013 at 9:30 AM.
  • Upcoming cultural event is "An Evening of Giving" on March 7th from 1-10 pm at Indian Garden - Chicago,247 E. Ontario Street, 2nd Floor Chicago IL 60611
  • Upcoming Cultural Event is Holi Celebration on March 31st 2013 at 11:00 AM
  • From time to time there would be satsang and lectures by noble gurus would be arranged.

Shivalya Cultural center

Shivalya aims to be a learning center for kids growing in the downtown. Various classes are conducted for kids of all ages on Saturdays and Sundays.
SDC cultural center welcomes new and seasoned learners.
  • Yoga classes
  • Weekend School - Music, Arts, Religion and language
  • Meditation Sessions


The temple has a prayer hall, auditorium and a library with audio and video facilites. Elevator in the building. Street and garage parking is available.
Temple hours are:
  • Monday-Friday: 11AM - 8PM
  • Saturday-Sunday:9AM - 7PM

Management and volunteers

SDC is managed by noble minded volunteers and bhakthas

  • 318 W. Grand Ave. Suite 201 Chicago, IL 60654
    Call (312) 595-0555 Toll Free: (855) 870-8980
    Email: info@Shivalya.org
    Hours: M-F: 11AM - 8PM, Sat/Sun: 9AM - 7PM

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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