Atop an acropolis–situated above the Des Plaines River Valley at 10915 Lemont Road in Lemont, Illinois–the Rama Temple with its 80 foot tower (Gopuram)– is visible from a great distance. This symbol of the Hindu spirit entices us into the temple complex where everyone is welcomed. Beside the Rama Temple–built in the style of the Chola dynasty–we find the Ganesha-Shiva-Durga temple in the architectural style of the Kalinga dynasty from the first century B.C.E.
When entering the temples we are asked to remove our shoes, to refrain from taking photos inside, and to be respectful of these spiritual sanctuaries. The spectacular statues inside are meant to shift our minds away from the outer world, inward, to aide in spiritual devotions. Hindus preach that God is formless and shapeless. The idols are symbolic. The Visitors Guide tells us: “When one is worshipping an idol, he or she is not really worshipping the physical form of the idol, but the spiritual quality of the divine symbolized by the idol.”
Outside of the two temples, we see the Sri Vivekananda Statue, the first statue of the Swami to be installed in a public place in the U.S. The Vivekananda Meditation Center, found adjacent to the statue, has a soft, warm, peachy, and inviting glow.
The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago is a beautiful site that can only be appreciated by those who experience it. It is a not-profit organization. For more information about the temple and major festivals, find the website at www.ramatemple.org or call 630-972-0300.