Hindu temple emerges in Carbondale

Hindu temple emerges in Carbondale

By Matt Daray

Carbondale is now home to the only Hindu temple in southern Illinois.

The Hindu Temple and Cultural Society of Southern Illinois held the grand opening of the temple from Friday until Sunday. The temple will provide the only formal place of worship for Hindus in a 120-mile radius. For decades, Hindus of southern Illinois worshiped in smaller groups at each other’s houses or would travel to St. Louis or Nashville, Tenn. for services. Now, more than 160 Hindu families and almost 100 Indian SIU students will have a local place of worship.

Pradeep Reddy, a pediatrician in Marion and president of the temple board of trustees, said the temple will be a large asset to the southern Illinois community.


“This is going to help all the Hindus at SIU as well as southern Illinois communities,” he said. “The location was chosen for Carbondale keeping in mind the students, there’s a large population here who have no access to St. Louis or other temples.”

Reddy led the movement to create a temple in southern Illinois, donating three acres of land for the temple to be built on. Reddy said the idea for a local temple was thought up in a small worship group he was a part of five years ago. He said it took two years to collect enough money from donations and manpower to build the temple.

The temple will help Hindus in the region get more in touch with their faith, Reddy said.

“Hinduism as a religion is not as much going to church every Sunday,” he said. “It is more of a way of living as opposed to formalized rules and regulations. So it helps give access to those Hindus to get back to their roots, retouch and kind of understand and practice on a daily basis.”

The opening of the temple drew the attention of many locals, including SIU faculty and administrators.

University President Glenn Poshard said the temple is an accomplishment for all Hindus in southern Illinois and shows their dedication to their faith.

“Out of the freedoms that we cherish together, is the freedom to worship in a faith of our choice,” he said. “Here in this city, in this region, in this country, we take that very, very seriously.”


Mayor Joel Fritzler said the temple helps Carbondale stand out as a diverse city in southern Illinois.

“This is awesome in my opinion. It just shows the community how diverse of a population Carbondale has,” he said. “As we all know, Carbondale, we are an island in southern Illinois representing every religion in the world.”

Meera Komarraju, associate professor of psychology, said the temple allows Hindus the ability to practice their faith and gives locals a chance to learn about the faith.

“At least for the students of the university, especially when they come from India, it’s an opportunity for them to stay in touch with their faith,” she said. “And I think for people not of the Hindu faith, if they were to visit the temple, they’d get a flavor of a different religion.”

The Hindu temple is located at 1209 E. Walnut St. in Carbondale. Temple hours are 7:30-10:30 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.