Years in the making, Taos Hindu temple housing rare statue opens

New Mexico

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Thousands of people are expected in Taos this weekend for the opening of a new Hindu temple. The vision for the temple goes back 40 years to its humble beginnings.

“When we make that offering, it’s here, and then people can come and have what’s called ‘Prasada’ or blessed food,” said John Kane with the Neem Karoli Baba Temple. Kane also goes by his spiritual name ‘Hanuman Das.’

In Taos, Hindus are celebrating the new Neem Karoli Baba Temple.

“I think it’s going to be different for every person, but like Hanuman Das was saying, our guru Neem Karoli Baba’s core teachings were love everyone, serve everyone, feed everyone, remember God,” said Jeff Brau with the temple.

Inside the temple stands a monkey statue dedicated to the Hindu deity Hanuman, known as the servant of God.

“Because that service comes from his love, he’s always also respected for that infinite unconditional love that he has,” said Kane.

The 1,600-pound marble statue was carved in Jaipur, India. It’s said to be one of the only Hanuman statues in the U.S. People across the world have come here to pray at its feet, but the beginnings of the temple that houses the magnificent piece are humble.

The building where the Hanuman statue is located is unique in itself. It was once a milk shed for cows and it was transformed into a temple. The statue was kept in that shed since the 1980s, and in 2010, plans were approved to build this temple with a nod to southwestern architecture. This weekend, they’re finally celebrating the completion of the construction.

“One of the things about that in the Hindu tradition is that if it’s service to God, nothing is impossible,” said Kane. “Everything is possible.”

Symbolic to their long-awaited vision.

“There’s a saying in ‘jai guru dev,’ which means salutations to the guru,” said Brau. “And really this building was built for the guru and holy baba, and it’s our intention to be selfless and in-service to God as possible.”

The Hindus who built the temple said they were taught to never ask for money. Even so, they’ve been able to raise all but a couple hundred thousand of the $2 million cost of the project.

Click here for the temple’s opening weekend festivities.

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