Crowd Celebrates Opening of Hindu Center

February 12, 2007

Author: Tony Plohetski

Source: Austin American-Statesman

In 2001, a group of Austin Hindus decided that the city's fast-growing Indian population needed a worship and community center and began rallying the community for donations.

On Sunday, they opened it to more than 1,000 people.

The center, which features traditional Indian architecture and is situated on more than 70 acres near the Travis County Exposition Center in eastern Travis County, is the first traditional Hindu temple in Austin and will offer residents a place to worship, meditate and participate in music and dance classes, officials said.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Austin Mayor Will Wynn helped open the center during an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony. They said that the center demonstrates Austin's interest in embracing people from different cultures and that they hope it will draw more Indians to the region.

"The Indian American culture in Texas is enormously well-educated and productive," Cornyn said. "I think they will do nothing but enrich the quality of life in Austin."

Austin's Indian population has grown dramatically in the past two decades, from about 100 families in the early 1980s to about 4,000 today, largely because of the region's high-tech industry, officials said. Austin has more than 14,000 Indian residents.