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New Gurdwara opened in Middleton Wisconsin

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    The magenta carpet, striking decoration and sheer expanse of space is in sharp contrast to the small and cramped building that once housed the Sikh Society of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Members of the Sikh Society of Wisconsin-Madison gather outside the new gurdwara or temple in Middleton. The new building is about 6,300-square-foot and cost about $725,000.

    The new Gurdwara replaces the one-story house that sat at the same location and served as the society's temple since the mid-1990s. The new structure is complete with a dining hall, kitchen and room for the Sikh holy book. Prayers from the second-floor worship area are piped downstairs to the kitchen and langar hall where people visiting or cooking can hear and watch what's happening on a closed circuit television.

    A Milwaukee paathi reads aloud from the Guru Granth Sahib Friday as part of the akhand paath, a continuous 48-hour reading. The reading will continue until Sunday morning, after which members of the Sikh Society of Wisconsin-Madison will raise the Nishan Sahib - the Sikh flag, sing hymns and enjoy a community langar or lunch during the temple's grand opening celebration.

    "We have huge room now," said Surinder Pangli, vice president of the Sikh Society of Wisconsin-Madison. "It's wonderful. I don't think we can ask (for) anything better."

    Jaswinder Kaur, Madison, left, and Sheena Kaur, Stoughton, listen to a reading of the Granth Friday.

    Sikhism is the youngest world religion, founded about 500 years ago in the Indian state of Punjab and is one of the largest world religions, with 23 million followers worldwide.

    Leaders of the Middleton temple say they expect between 250 and 300 people for Sunday's grand opening — more than twice the usual Sunday attendance. They also anticipate an increase in attendance now there is more space in the new building.

    -By Gena Kittner
    [email protected]
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