For a friend’s wedding I recently traveled to Chicago. Since that’s where I did my doctoral work, we have many friends there and love the city. I have previously posted on the architectural wonders of Chicago, the Balaji Temple and have run the Chicago Marathon!
On this visit, I additionally got darshan at the exquisitely maintained Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago! Was surprised at their calendar of activities including Yoga, Meditation, Gita Recitation, Discourses and Sunday School. And importantly a cafeteria serving dosas, idli sambar, yogurt rice and else. Reason enough to go!
Adjoining it is the distinctive Shiva Ganesha Temple with a mesmerizingly beautiful murthy of Durga Devi and Radha Krishna.
On the grounds is a statue of Swami Vivekananda, installed by the Vivekananda Vedanta Society to commemorate his 1893 lecture at the World Parliament of Religions. As an engineering student I perchanced a few of his lectures during a visit to Kanya Kumari. What a read! That sparked a spiritual curiosity that burns stronger each day, kindling the tinder of our material world, leaving me in bliss! (Statue of Sw Vivekananda at the Gateway of India)
Oh, I remember visiting this temple in 1993 with some relatives from Joliet. It’s certainly beautiful.
MrMr.Arun Shanbhag.Please mail me photograph of swami vivekanandas photo of chicago sculpture if possible.Let me know from which part of india you are. I think u r from north kanara.I am from kumta.my contact no. is 0091 9916188008. ThannQ
Hi Arun: read your marathon blog, quite inspiring!! More so, because we seem to have several things in common. I am in Chicago, and training for my first half marathon here- and therefore trolling the blogs to read about other people’s experiences!!!
Also, I lived in Belgaum, Karnataka, for three years in high school, best years of my life. I think you blog is filled with very good info, history, facts and motivation.
Thank you Anjali!
and Good luck with the training for the Chicago Half marathon! Hope you enjoy the experience and slowly trainup to a full marathon!
Am currently in Mumbai and just returned from a trip to Goa, Kumta, Honavar and else! A fabulous country and a beautiful people – what a blessing!
And how fortunate that you got to experience the South in Belgaum; A beautiful town with nice cool weather!
Bestest! and keep us up to date on your training.
PS, see some of the exercises and stretches I have on my site, se category Fitness and running!
And how is the training coming along for the Chicago Half Marathon?
This post is so close to home. We live 4 miles from the Balaji Temple and till 2 months ago, our son attended the amazing Sunday School at the Hindu Temple. The way it is all organised and run is completely professional and such a huge service to the Indian community here.
Have you checked out the newly renovated Shirdi Sai Mandir in Aurora? If you can, you should attend their Thursday evening bhajans and enjoy the dinner after that. Its a pleasure, all its own. 🙂
We have also heard that the Swaminarayan Temple is simply beautiful. Yet to visit.
Enjoyed this post and your lovely pictures.
Thank you for attesting to the wonderful service that the temples in Chicago provide. You live 4 miles from the Balaji Temple? Lucky You!
We lived in OakPark and we made it a point to make it to the temple for the Balaji Abhishek, held once a month on a sunday. What a grand affair! If you have not attended one, give it a try and you will be transported to a different world. Then the temple did not have a large following and we used to get to sit right in front for the entire 45 minute service! What a blessed opportunity!
Glad your kid got to attend their classes.
No, I have not visited the Shirdi Sai Mandir – another time!
and the Bahai Temple in Wilmette is exquisite too.
Nice to know that temples still play an important role in our lives!
Best Wishes to you!
Nostalgic. Reminds me of the days when I used to go to the Lemont Temple (as it was popularly called then) when I lived only a few miles away. The serenity in this temple and the Balaji temple them being away from all the Chicago busyness was so soothing.
You are absolutely right. Those good old days! I used to love the Aurora temple then. Even though it was a long way away, we made a nice trip out of it … and gas then was only 95 cents a gallon! WoW!
Its amazing how much development has happened at the temples. When we were there, the rd infront of this temple was muddy. now they have a huge parking lot and a beautiful walkway to the temple. Well done!
Hi Gopal, Arun:
An interesting story to share about Lemont Temple. Some of the guys working with me in Chicago were earlier working on an assignment in Hobart, IN.
They decided to come to Lemont Temple on Saturday. They all came in one car around 11:00 am (quite early for a weekend by Indian IT worker standards). After the temple visit, One of the guys volunteered to drive. The decision – Let us go to Devon Ave for lunch etc.
They all got in the car and promptly dozed off (except for the driver !!). When they woke up they found themselves back in Hobart. When they asked the driver, how this happened, the driver said “I know the route from Hobart to Temple and back, I know the route from Hobart to Devon Ave and back. But, I dont know the route from Lemont Temple to Devon Ave. So now I will drive you back to Devon Ave.” They did make it to Devon Ave that afternoon about 3 hours later than planned.
Thank God…Gas was only $0.99 per gal in those days.
FYI. Subsequently, the driver in this case was known to come to Devon Ave all the way from Hobart, IN just for chai and mirchi bhajis at some restaurant called Annadata.
Thank you for sharing your anecdote! and yes! it is very important for ALL desis to know the direction to Devon Ave!
0.99c a gal? That was when I was in Chicago!
Hope you are all doing well.
Hi Arun, nice post with stunning pixs of Hindu temple. I loved the statue of Swami Vivekananda. How we feel glad naa to see tht Indian heroes in foreign country. 🙂
We have kinda same temple of Lord Vishnu Shiva here in Melbourne. Visited last year as it’s so so far from our place…abt 1 1/2 hour car drive. But temple is so beautiful having cafeteria serving dosas, idlis, etc. 🙂 Will take some pixs when visit next time.
And thanks a bunch for those photography tips. I have very basic camera (Olympus digi cam) though. 😦 Nikon D90 SLR is in top of my wishlist! 🙂
Good luck for India trip. Love to Meera. 🙂
Thank you Sonu!
Down under, you must be getting into Winter. Does it get that cold in Melbourne?
And yes, I loved that Swami Vivekananda Statue. The Vedanta society had tried to install the statue downtown Chicago, but that did not work out. So it ended here! Nice!
And take pics of your Melbourne Temple. Soon we will have a ring of temples around the globe! Yaay!
The Nikon D90 is certainly a nice camera, but the entry level DSLRs (D40 or D60 like) may work out better for me. See they have a smaller lighter body, are easier to hold and cheaper. Also, more than the camera, the quality of the pics depend more on the quality of the lens. So I’d invest the extra $ in buying a nice lens (or two).
Oh…don’t ask abt cold in Melbourne…it’s on peak state these days! We are literally shivering here…it always been tough winter here…windy-rainy and showers everything comes together! 😦 But I love winter though. You will have very beautiful and bright day when it’s sunny. 🙂
And you know, I finally have convinced my hubby for early morning jogging. 🙂
Abt DSLR camera and lens, I am completely new to tht stuff. I’ll ask ur advise and tips how to buy best yet cheap camera. OK? Hope you don’t mind to help me then. 🙂
Will surely share tht temple’s pics when I visit next time.
Temples of Chicago are one of our favourites. We had been to all the major temples countless number of times when we lived in Bloomington Indiana. But I haven’t been to Chinmaya mission yet. May be next time when we visit our good friends in Chicago
On a different note, Marhaba from Doha Qatar. Its been 10 days since I laneded here and so far enjoying, well lot more sunshine than I had hoped for in Pittsburgh 🙂
Enjoy your trip to hamchi mumbai and a big hug to little m.
O! just remembered!
Hope you are getting a bit of sun – coz we haven’t been! Today the sun was out! Yaay!
Have a fun time and enjoy!
Thank you and I think the entire visit is going to be ONE long hug for li’l m
And just remembered, next time in Chicago, you should visit the Bahai Temple in Wilmette by Evanston. Beautiful!
Yes, I can wait until Labor Day for the coffee maker. I just visited another Indian grocery store in Northern Virginia and finally found a curry leaf tree, but no coffee maker. Thank you for searching for one in Boston.
Thanks for the great camera tips. Enjoy your trip to Mumbai.
i had no idea this was here – we live only 5 hrs from chicago. on our next trip, we’ll have to stop by! thanks much, arun. glad you had a lovely trip.
THank you; its always fun!
The best temple in Chicago has to be the Balaji Temple in Aurora, IL in one of the far west suburbs.
That itself is a day trip, and they serve the best food in the cafeteria. At any given time I see more folks sitting and gossiping in the cafeteria than in the temple proper :-))
Your photographs, especially the Architectural Wonders of Chicago, are stunning. What make and model digital camera do you use? Do you have any tips for us on taking photos as the sun goes down and the light shifts across the buildings?
This pic was taken with a D70 Nikon digital camera – but more important is the lens: i regularly use a 17-55 mm lens.
A couple of tips. Always shoot at the widest range possible. The wide angle resembles kinda what we see with our eyes. Cropping tightly for portraits and group shots is fine, but afor essentially all else, you have to go ‘wide.’
For evening shots, I recommend: Don’t focus on the bright lights or whatever. Focus and meter off whatever is dark in the field. In that picture shot on Michigan Ave, I remembered to meter off the dark building on the front right. Once that dark building is metered correctly, the rest will come out correct. If I had metered/focussed on the bright street lights, the buildings would surely have ended up dark – black.
Compose, so the street (or horizon in general) was low in the pic and then shoot. In that picture, i could have shot in the landscape format, but chose the portrait orientation to accentuate the tall buildings!
Turn the flash off, lean against a light pole, a wall or whatever and take several shots.
Just remember, Wider the better and focus/ meter off whatever is dark in the pic, NOT on what is already bright.
On another note: did not forget about the coffee maker. i checked two stores here in Boston and both did not carry it. I am off to india in a few weeks and can pick one from Mumbai if you can wait till labor day?
Clearly it’s about 1000X better than the Hindu Temple in Flushing. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the Venkateshwara Temple in Pittsburgh.
Have not been to Flushing, but the Boston temple needs to learn something from the Chicago Temples. They have at least three major temples are ALL are fabulously maintained and provide a wide range of activities. Bostonians say that ours is a new temple – but i haven’t seen an iota of change in the decade I have been here.
Yes, the Balaji Temple in Chicago is a larger version of the Pittsburgh Temple. We used to go to that temple every month when in Chicago.
The Flushing temple has its own merits, given that it’s one of the oldest ones in the US. However, I think due to the fact that it’s in an urban setting, its size is limited. I think, though, that it is undergoing renovations now to expand the existing structure. I’ve seen the new wing, it looks pretty good!
Perhaps when you’re in NYC for the marathon, you should swing by the temple! They have great dosa too. 🙂
Will plan on visiting the Flushing Temple when there for the Marathon! Then I can stuff myself with as many dosas as i want :-O
Thanks for that.