Hindu Sect's Temple Request Causes a Stir In Chesco

May 5, 2009

Author: Kathleen Brady Shea

Source: The Inquirer


In a bucolic Chester County township that values open space, a Hindu sect's request to build a temple about two-thirds the size of a football field has caused a stir.

The group, which has been meeting in a West Pikeland Township farmhouse since 2000, says a new complex is needed not for its small congregation but rather for its statues, which become living gods once installed. And those living gods, members say, need their space.

On March 16, the township rejected the request for a 35,470-square-foot temple complex, approving a 5,000-square-foot building. So the group has turned to a higher authority: a federal judge.

In a suit filed two weeks ago, the Adhiparasakthi Charitable, Medical, Educational and Cultural Society of North America accuses West Pikeland of violating the group's religious rights and labels residents "hostile to non-Christian observances."