1st Upstate Sikh temple opens in Duncan - FOX Carolina 21

1st Upstate Sikh temple opens in Duncan

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Members worship at the new Upstate Sikh temple in Duncan. (Feb. 24, 2013/FOX Carolina) Members worship at the new Upstate Sikh temple in Duncan. (Feb. 24, 2013/FOX Carolina)
The Gurdwara Nanak Darbar temple is located on Harrison Road in Duncan. (Feb. 22, 2013/FOX Carolina) The Gurdwara Nanak Darbar temple is located on Harrison Road in Duncan. (Feb. 22, 2013/FOX Carolina)
DUNCAN, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The first Sikh temple in the Upstate is now open for worship in Duncan.

Sikhs from across the southeast attended the temple's first worship service Sunday along with local political leaders and others wanting to experience Sikh culture.

Upstate Sikhs spent the past seven years raising money and organizing plans to build Gurdwara Nanak Darbar, including the two years it took to build the Harrison Road temple.

The temple and local community welcomed locals to attend worship and learn more about their faith.

SLIDESHOW: Look inside Upstate's 1st Sikh temple

"We are a small community, this is why we want you to come in, anybody to come in here," said Gurdwara member Rajinder Singh. "We want to identify ourselves. We are being mistaken for a lot of other religions. Sikhism is a very peaceful religion. They go their own way, they are hardworking people, they mind their own business. They might look different but they just feel like, do things like all others do and they love this country."

Sikhism originated from the Punjab region of northern India, and hundreds of Sikhs now call the Upstate home. Members of the Upstate Sikh Society said it is a dream they've had for decades to have their own place to worship after spending years renting spaces, having prayer meetings in homes and traveling sometimes hundreds of miles to other temples.

The Sikh community in the Upstate has grown through the past 40 years and until Sunday, many believers have traveled to other temples in Durham, NC, and Augusta, GA. Most recently the closest temple was in Columbia. The Upstate community is made up of about 50 families.

Upstate Sikhs said they look forward to worshiping closer to home and sharing their faith with others in the community, which they are a part of.

"[Sikhs] are business people, doctors, engineers and anything that happens around here affects us too," Singh said.

The Upstate temple was named after the religion's founder, Guru Nanak.

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