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USA Sikhs Open Doors Of New Home To Malloy


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
By: Richie Rathsack | Posted: Sunday, February 20, 2011 11:31 pm | 0 comments

SOUTHINGTON - With a new temple on West Street, the Sikh congregation has been celebrating for a week. On Sunday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other officials joined in the fun.

Walking into the temple, known as Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, guests are asked remove their shoes and place them in cubbies on either side of the door. They are also asked to cover their heads with bright orange bandanas provided by friendly Sikhs at the door.

"It's great to be here with you and celebrate your success. When I understood this was a time of celebration for you, I was deeply honored for the invitation and to be here in your presence," Malloy said.

Malloy said he understood the trouble many Sikhs have had in the post-9-11 world, adding the state needs to look out for the needs of all its citizens.

"We shouldn't just be tolerant. We should be embracing," Malloy said.

Darshan Singh Bajwa, a Connecticut Sikh Association trustee on the committee for the new building, gave a brief history of the Sikhs and their congregation.

The Sikh faith is more than 500 years old, started in the Punjab region of India, Bajwa said. It has its own holy book and follows the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and 10 successive gurus.

"Sikhism is not an offshoot of any religion, it is a religion itself," he said.

The congregation now in Southington started in 1989 in a small building in Ansonia. The next year, the congregation bought a Southington building adjacent to the land on which its future home would be built 11 years later.

As the congregation grew, members realized they needed more space. The congregation hired Borghesi Building and Engineering of Torrington for the project, which took 15 months and $1.7 million to complete. Though the Sikhs are celebrating the new temple now, the work is not totally finished.

When designing the building, they wanted to make it as "green" as possible. The Sikhs are planning to install 300 solar panels to generate their own electricity, which will save them up to $16,000 in energy costs each year, Bajwa said.

Following Malloy's address, congregation member Vapinder Singh presented an award to Allan Borghesi.

"Today the Lord himself has blessed us with this beautiful building," Singh said.

Borghesi was all smiles while accepting the award, saying working with the Sikhs was fun.

"The entire construction process went smoothly. They are great people to work with, all the way through the project.

After the service, Malloy, Borghesi and all the Sikhs went to a large room across the hallway for a sumptuous lunch. Everyone sat on the carpeted floor as congregation members passed by, serving food from large containers.

Before leaving, Malloy took a tour of the kitchen area and stopped for pictures with members of the congregation, including Gurmeet Sachdeva, of Manchester, and his son, 3-year-old Amrit, who pulled a lollipop out of his mouth to offer the governor, prompting a broad smile from Malloy as he made his way to the door.



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