Main Menuhttp://www.vegasdesi.com/wp-admin/themes.php?page=options-framework#options-group-11

Hindu Mandir Celebrates 18th Anniversary…Historical Perspective on the Mandir

Hindu Mandir of Las Vegas invites you to join the community to celebrate the 18th-anniversary ceremonies on Sunday, April 28th, 2019.  

2019 marks the beginning of the 19th year of Hindu Mandir in Las Vegas and, as usual, please join in an annual ritual to celebrate the Mandir anniversary with family and friends. Celebrations are FREE…Luncheon, Spiritual Awakening and the most import part of socializing with old and new friends at NO COST.  Donations are greatly appreciated.

 

Hindu Temple – 18th Anniversary Celebrations on
Sunday, April 28th – 12 Jyotirlinga Puja and Shiv Maha Pujan
10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Freshly prepared lunch immediately followed by the religious services (around noon)
Location – Hindu Temple and Jain Center of Las Vegas 
1701 Sageberry Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89144 
Phone: 702-304-9207  For further information, Please visit

www.hindutemplelv.org

 For further assistance and sponsoring a special puja on this important occasion, please call Mandir Pandit Ji Brijesh Rawal at 702-480-3892.

****************************************************************

Background & Historical Perspective: It was in the early nineties when few of the early settlers and active families from the Indian community floated an idea of having a Hindu Mandir for the growing Hindu community of Las Vegas.  The constructive brainstorming and ideas turned into a dream, which ultimately resulted in embracing a future plan for the local Hindu Mandir.  With that mindset and determination, the Hindu Society of Nevada was registered with the Nevada Secretary of State as a non-profit entity in September 1994. The first community meeting and a fundraiser dinner was held at the Masonic Lodge in mid-nineties.   At the meeting, the attendees had an enthusiasm, passion, and determination to build a first Hindu Mandir in the State of Nevada.  Over 400 excited community members packed the hall and committed the financial and non-financial resources to support and build the Mandir.  Although the tickets were only $50 per person but over $250,000 was committed that evening to move on with the project at the earliest. Seeing the enthusiastic support for the Mandir, the founders’ committee debated on how to acquire land, location and should the community approach BLM for cheap land or just buy the required real estate from the open market.  Around the same time, the master-planned Summerlin development was at the conceptual stage and the current location, 5 Acre (net 4.25 acre), was acquired in March 1997 in the name of Hindu Society of Nevada, for $297,000 from the Howard Hughes Corporation as the land was specifically zoned for religious purposes. 

With no zoning related issues and all the permits and funding in place, the construction started with a groundbreaking ceremony in late 1999.  The dream came true in April of 2001 when the Mandir was completed and community came together to the three-day grand opening celebrations.  The grand opening festivities along with Murthi Sthapana (placing of deities) services were held from April 27th through April 29th, 2001 with over 600 community members in attendance.  The community was proud of having its own place of worship.

Four prominent and well-learned priests – Shri S. Krihnamacharyulu of Los Angeles, Shri S. Venkatachryulu of Pittsburgh, Shri Gopal Krihnamacharyulu (our former Pandit Ji) and Shri Bhanu Joshi of Las Vegas performed the religious services and blessed the temple and the attendees.  The grand opening was also attended by some of the prominent local elected officials including the then Mayor Oscar Goodman and Congresswoman Shelley Berkeley.

Advertisement Placed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal/Las Vegas Sun – April 2001

Mandir Grand Opening Ceremony with the then Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. April 2001

On the side note, vegasdesi.com regrettably informs that Mr. Anil Gupta (first from left in the picture above) and Dr. Dipak Desai, both, have been declared a felon due to their malicious unlawful business activities.  Mr. Gupta served time in the prison and is currently residing in Canada, while Dr. Dipak Desai passed away at the federal prison while serving life imprisonment.  It’s high time that Hindu Mandir Board takes an action to remove their name from the plaque at the temple entrance.

After one year in operation, the board decided to organize a second fundraiser with door prizes, social hour, dinner and entertainment.  The tickets were reasonably priced at $35 per person to encourage wider participation from the community which resulted in a quick sale of six hundred tickets.  One thousand raffle tickets were sold for $100 each for a raffle prize of a brand-new Mercedes Benz.  The raffle was somewhat controversial and Ms. Rita Vaswani won the brand-new Mercedes Benz.  The second fundraiser also saw some Bollywood style action – the verbal and almost physical fight between the two well-known community members.  The clash of personalities and egos were seen before the beginning of blessing prayers by our Panditji. The cooler heads calmed down the two individuals.

The third fundraiser – a black-tie optional dinner – started on the controversial note as the management, especially the then board member Dipak Desai, decided to raise the ticket prices to $250 per person.  The fourth, fifth and sixth fundraiser divided the community and the whole event was labeled as for the Physicians, by the Physicians and of the Physicians as the ticket prices were kept at $250 per person with platinum sponsorships going for $10,000.  The last formal fundraiser, held in 2006, brought in over $250,000 on a pretext to build a community center on vacant land at the Temple.  Architectural drawings were displayed to generate additional donations.  However, as of today, there is no sight or communication by the management on the construction of any community center at the Mandir premises. Click here for the last formal (2006) fund raising pictures.  For the past two years, the current Mandir administration has been hinting on starting an annual fundraiser banquet.

After all the initial controversies and the beginning pains of infancy being gone, the Mandir administration was doing a decent voluntary service to keep the community engaged in Mandir activities.  However, the board room conflicts errupted again in 2018.  Lately for the past couple of years, the weekly attendance has been in decline except during the special events like an annual Dusshera Mela, Diwali and other religious occasions.

With growing attendance during the earlier years and increasing demand for religious services on Panditji Gopal, Mandir administration decided to hire a second priest to supplement the services of Panditji Gopal.  Panditji Brijesh Rawal joined the mandir in 2012 which helped with the needs of the local growing and prosperous Hindu community in the valley and at the same time brought additional revenues for the Mandir.  After serving the Mandir for over 15 years, 2015 saw a departure of Panditji Gopal who went solo with his own private Mandir in the Southwest area of the valley.  In 2016, Mandir administration brought in Pandit Vishnuji and the following year management decided to hire a Manager to run day-to-day operations.

Last year, 2018 was a particularly disturbing and tumultuous year in the history of the Mandir.  With the growing community and getting out of the early infancy years, the board members personality differences erupted into the internal board room war with accusations started flying.  After celebrating the 17th-anniversary celebrations and the appointment of the new Chair and the Executive Committee, the new team started on a positive exuberance, however, later in the year the Chairman, Nirmalya Chatterjee along with the majority of the members of the Executive Committee led by President Sunil Vasu, abruptly resigned.  In the interim, Ramesh and Neeru Piplani came forward and volunteered their services to manage day to day Mandir affairs.  Las Vegas Metro Police Department got involved and in yearly 2019 completed its investigation on alleged break-in and unauthorized audio recording.  The metro reported of no crime being committed at the mandir and no one was formally charged for any illegal activity as alleged in the initial report.  The reorganized Board appointed Amrat Patel as the new Chairman of the Hindu Mandir Board.  At the same time, the board is committed to revising the archaic by-laws and standard operating procedures. The new executive committee, for managing day to day affairs of the mandir, is already in place under the leadership of Neeru Piplani and looking forward to serve the local Hindu community.

 

 






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

*