Faith Communities: Swaminarayan Hinduism

December 6, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Savannah Morning News

Kalpana Patel can't remember a day when she hasn't prayed.

The Savannah mother and her family start and end each day with fasting and then prayer. She also spends at least 30 minutes in prayer at the Hindu temple on Canebrake Road.

"I don't miss a day," Patel said. "If I got up late and had to go to work, I wouldn't eat or drink all day. Once I would get home from work, I'd pray and then I'd eat."

That ritual is repeated among hundreds of practicing Hindus living throughout Coastal Georgia.

Adherents say the religion's presence has grown in the area as more Indian families come to the U.S. seeking work.

Patel and her family have lived in Savannah for about 20 years. Both of her children were born here. They attend public schools in Savannah.

Although Hindus represent less than half a percent of Americans, Patel said she's confident the Hindu community can provide her children with a strong cultural and religious identity.

See also: Hinduism