The Sikh community of the Bay Area celebrated the opening of the largest Sikh temple in the United States on Sunday. The San Jose Sikh Gurdwara, occupies 110,000 sq. feet in a 40 acre campus on Murillo Avenue in Evergreen Hills. It was completed at a total cost of $32 million. The complex includes a prayer hall, classrooms, apartments, and a vegetarian kitchen.
Thousands of people, Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike, dropped by to tour the facility during an open house, which included a free vegetarian meal for all the guests. Hosting a free meal, or langar, for people of all religions is one of the best known observances of the Sikh religion.
The Sikh religion was founded in the Punjab in the 16th century by Guru Nanak. Since then, the Sikh population worldwide has grown to over 26 million, including 250,000 in the United States. They are best known for the “Five K’s,” or religious symbols worn regularly by devout Sikhs. These include uncut hair—Sikhs regularly wear a turban, a wooden comb carried in their turban, a metal bangle, an undergarment, and a small dagger, known as a kirpan.