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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Birthday Party At Gurdwara San Jose

On Friday October 11, our son Alok celebrated his 50th birthday by taking us to Gurdwaraji Sahib at San Jose, California and spent the whole afternoon there in prayer before Guru Granthji Saheb and ending our visit with the sacred and most delicious dinner at the Langar Bhawan of the biggest Gurdwara in California.
San Jose gurdwara is a story of little to the largest: Late Pyra Singh Obhi and many other dedicated sevadars of the community founded the Sikh Gurdwara San Jose in 1984.The South Bay Sikh Community at that time was growing rapidly and there was an urgent need for a Gurdwara. Initially there were no funds available and Gurdwara started to rent an East Bay Community Center. After enormous obstacles, the Gurdwara Committee purchased a small building in East San Jose on White Road in 1986. Within a few months the Gurdwara Committee realized that the building was too small for Sangat. In 1990, the Gurdwara Committee purchased its first parcel of land at Quimby Road, and then bought other two adjacent parcels over the next few years, which brought the total land owed by Gurdwara to about 5 acres. In 1993-94, the Gurdwara Committee determined that it would be too expensive to build a Gurdwara here due to City and County requirements. In 1996, the Gurdwara Committee decided to buy 40 Acres of land near East San Jose Foothills. To build a Gurdwara at this new site, the Gurdwara Committee needed at least $10 million. The Committee requested Sangat to donate generously and also give personal loans to the Gurdwara. With Waheguru’s grace, Sangat gave overwhelming and extended support to the Gurdwara Committee.
As soon as the Gurdwara had enough funds available, after years of scrimping and saving, and sailing through the city's permit process, despite objections raised during three contentious public hearings, the Gurdwara-San Jose Sikh community decided to go all- out and build the biggest, most beautiful temple its members could afford. They spent $2 million to buy a 40-acre apricot orchard with sweeping valley views, then commissioned a design for an exotic- looking complex with towering onion domes, arches, columns and reflecting pools. With 94,000 square feet of floor space, the temple rivals the dimensions of the most reputed super markets and stores. Perched more than 500 feet above the featureless suburbia of east San Jose, and with domes soaring 60 more feet into the sky, the temple surely has become a landmark in San Jose's Evergreen district. The architecture is Indo-Persian, a fusion of Hindu and Islamic elements. Gurdwara Sahib features onion domes, frilled archways, fountains and panoramic views. The temple hosted an open house to show off the $32 million addition to its existing facilities, when hundreds of visitors, both Sikh and non-Sikh, toured the expanded temple. The temple's kitchen is planned to serve 10,000 vegetarian meals to all the visitors.
Located in the foothills of the Mount Diablo range on a former apricot orchard, Gurdwara Sahib is one of the largest Sikh temples in North America, surpassing in size and grandeur even the Yuba City gurdwara, which was considered the biggest before completion of the San Jose gurdwara. In 1969, Sikhs in Yuba City constructed one of the world's biggest gurdwaras, to commemorate 500 Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak. To celebrate the anniversary of the first installation of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, there is a huge celebration on the first Sunday of every November. The annual parade draws 40,000 to 50,000 from all parts of western USA. It is the largest gathering of Punjabis outside of India. Another big festival is held on the last Sunday of May. This Punjabi American fiesta is a much-awaited event and attended by people not only from the Yuba- Sutter area but also from neighboring states and Canada.
Indeed, it was the best ever birthday party our son ever had and most appropriate for the landmark 50th birthday. We shall cherish for ever our visit to Gurdwara Shib San Jose, the most magnificent gurdwara in America. Here is a link to view Gurdwara Sahib, San Jose, California, USA:


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