Vermont's Hindu community came together this past weekend to celebrate one of the biggest annual holidays in the Hindu religion. Now, the group is longing for a spiritual home of its own.
The nonprofit organization Vermont Hindu Temple hosted the event at a rented space in Burlington's Old North End. Basu Dhakal, president of Vermont Hindu Temple, says between 400 and 500 people stopped by to celebrate.
Dances, prayers, food and songs lasted all day on Saturday as part of their Durga Pooja celebration.
"We are having dances, we are having songs," said Dhakal. "And most are related to Durga, the goddess of power."
He says the holiday represents the triumph of good over evil.
Bidur Dahal, a Nepali interpreter and a founding director of Vermont Hindu Temple, estimates the Nepali and Bhutanese population in Vermont is now at around 2,300, many arriving via the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.
He says although the community is becoming well established in the U.S., there is something missing.
"There is a small vacuum in their hearts," Dahal said. "The vacuum is a spiritual vacuum, that they do not have a spiritual home."
Dahal, along with the other founding directors of Vermont Hindu Temple hope to change that. Organizers say they are working with various landlords in the Burlington area to establish a physical temple sometime soon.
Hindu services are now being held in Burlington's Quaker meeting space, but demand is so great that the community is outgrowing that building.