After a 16-year wait, San Antonio's Hindu temple finally has received its crowning touch, a mahraja gopuram - literally, a "kingly pagoda" - that identifies the building with its roots in South India.
The gopuram, a 42-foot-high entrance tower built by Indian artisans with statues of 52 Hindu deities sculpted in concrete on site over the past eight months and painted white, was sanctified Sunday. The ceremony was conducted by two resident temple priests assisted by two other priests from Austin and Houston temples. Several hundred people attended.
Each deity represents a particular manifestation of the one God, temple members said.
"This is my dream come true," said Venkateshwar Goud, a member since 1991, when the temple building itself was completed. "The temple is finally complete. It's wonderful. We're all blessed."
No Hindu temple is considered authentic unless it has a gopuram built according to scriptural specifications by artisans from India and sanctified according to Hindu rituals. The door must face east.