Next month, Sikhs in Bloomington, Minnesota will have a new Gurdwara (Sikh temple). The Sikh congregation has been holding services in a building that was formerly a McDonald’s restaurant. The new building will be much bigger:
Its nearly 300 followers, however, have outgrown the space and will move to the 8,000-square-foot former church building in Bloomington off 9000 Bloomington Freeway W. The Sikh Society of Minnesota bought the property for $600,000 and is spending up to $300,000 to renovate it, said Daljit Sikka, a member of the society’s renovation committee.
Sikh communities are always rooted in their local place of worship. Raj Singh, a professor at the University of Minnesota, describes the setting – with a growing Indian population – wherein they have built the Gurdwara:
“That’s where my wife and I found a support group for us and our children,” Singh said. “I also think job opportunities bring a lot of people here. But when somebody calls me and asks about moving here, I tell them the city is very tolerant and accepting and is a good place to raise a family.”
Kehar Singh, President of the Sikh Society of Minnesota, explains the importance of the Gurdwara to the growing Sikh population – and its coming generations – in Bloomington:
“We are coming to maturity, coming into our own…We’re going to have a bigger space where we can go to learn about our culture, to pray and also teach our children the language in which our holy book is written. We are very excited about it.”