Hindu Priests Go American

November 10, 2006

Author: Viji Sundaram

Source: New America Media/India-West Newspaper


A few years ago, it was jokingly said that Hindu temples in the U.S. were bound to go American some day.

An unlikely scenario, you would have asserted, even as you chuckled. But the truth is that U.S.-based temples and the priests who man them have become a tad, shall we say, non-traditional, and no one is complaining.

It's not like the priests have started wearing designer jeans and sneakers to work, or that the temple walls are reverberating with disco music. But many of these houses of worship currently have their own Web sites and toll-free numbers, and the priests, at least some of them, their own PCs and cell phones. In colder cities, they come to work in long johns, jacket and gloves, woolen socks and hat. Chat with them long enough, and don't be surprised if they let slip an occasional "cool" or "neat," as one of them did while being interviewed for this story.

Yes, Hindu priests in the U.S., almost all first-generation immigrants, are increasingly becoming a curious mix of the trendy and the traditional.