| By Patricia Torres and Samannaz Rohanimanesh |
In her traditional maroon dress with gold sequins, Vijay Kushawaha dances to the drums of Indian music with two smiling little girls alongside her. Kushawaha, a volunteer and worshipper, is one of a few hundred people who is clapping and dancing along to the music on the fifth day of Navratri, a nine-day celebration of the Hindu goddesses.
Besides the music, a stream of people walk down the Hindu temple’s aisle, surrounded by dozens of gods. When they reach the altar, they kneel down to pay respect to Vishnu, Lakshmi and Saraswati, three of the main gods in the Hindu religion.
“Everybody is like a family here and we want everyone to come here and feel at home,” Kushawaha said. “It is a place of peace, a place where you share your happiness, your sorrow, your good times and bad times.”
As one of the first Hindu temples in the DMV area, the Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington has been a place of worship since 1988. The temple has been an integral part of the community, and has grown over the years, as the Hindu population has increased.