Hindu Temples in US are more like community centers. They are usually just big hall buildings with dieties around the hall. The hall is also used for community activity and celebrations of occasions like Diwali, Ganesh Chathurthi, Sivarathiri, Durga Pooja etc. I haven’t visited a lot of temples here in the US, but the ones I have are like this. I have heard temples in Pittsburgh, Chicago are very good. I haven’t been there.
St. Louis Temple stood out in the way it is built. The Gopuram and the art work on the walls around it made it look very much like a temple in India, even though it is nothing compared to the stone made ancient temples in India. The Gopuram and walls are painted white which also makes it different from the stone Gopurams in India.
Even though the front has a nice big door like that in India, the access was through the side where you had to leave your shoes and coats, take a hand and feet wash and then climb up to the temple hall. The statues inside the temple were also very nice. The main diety is Lord Venkateswara and then you have other dieties like Ganesha, Durga, Navagraha and all those standard Hindu dieties.
Photography was not allowed inside the temple. The temple in Dallas did allow us to take photos though and also the temple here in Kansas. I guess rules are different in different places. Also, this temple had a dress code. We were not supposed to be wearing shorts, but since we drove down to the temple we were wearing trekking shorts due to the weather. The manager in charge was polite though and said it was ok for us to enter the temple in our shorts since we had come a long way. But we respected the temple rules and grabbed a Dhoti from the manager (No, not the one he was wearing). The temple was loaning dhotis to those like us, just the way they do in temples in Kerala.
The only thing was if we had to reach our wallet or the phone in our shorts we had to pull up the dhoti like Raj Kiran and reach for it like a village idiot.
As for women, they are not allowed to wear micro mini skirts, tube tops, tank tops. Alas, there is no saree available for loan if you end up in the temple this way.
PS: This is my 100th post and it seems I have crossed 10K hits on the stats. I would like to thank all of my readers who have been part of this. I really appreciate it.