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Barsana Dham Center houses evacuees

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TWC News: Barsana Dham Center houses evacuees
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Shelters for Hurricane Ike evacuees have come in all forms -- schools, the Convention Center, homes of friends and relatives. Another one is the Barsana Dham Center in Hays County.

It may look like a simple room , but it’s just one part of the Barsana Dham

The Center has stretched its resources to be as accommodating as possible, including games for kids to play and plenty of space for some Hurricane Ike evacuees.

“We do create this atmosphere like this, to feel like they are on some kind of a vacation, so they don’t miss their houses, so they don’t feel as much of the grieving or whatever pains they are going through,” temple committee member Harish Parikh said.

Sanjay and Kamla Joshi drove from League City to Hays County Friday to seek shelter for them and their three sons.

It's safe to say the temple was more than simply a shelter.

“I don’t know what heaven looks like,” evacuee Kamla Joshi said. “But this is heaven to me. It’s very relaxing.”

For some, it’s been a blessing to keep up their prayer schedule and specific diet. The Joshi family said it’s given them the chance to embrace it even more, all in the midst of a natural disaster.

“I don’t have to worry about a lot of stuff, it’s like God’s place and everything,” evacuee Sanjay Joshi said. “You get to love, have emotion, it’s just great.”

The Joshi’s are just five of the 200 evacuees who have spent the weekend at the Barsana Dham Temple. Whether it’s arts and crafts or prayer, the children say their time at the temple helped them deal with Hurricane Ike.

“Being here you just forget about everything,” 11-year-old evacuee Ajay Joshi said. “There are so many things to do here … they teach you a lot of things here.”

They said it’s a soothing environment to help keep evacuees calm.

While the Joshis aren’t looking forward to another hurricane, but if there is they know where they’ll be seeking shelter.

Center leaders said most of the evacuees have been people of the Hindu faith and of Indian descent but says it’s opening its doors to anyone who needs shelter during the hurricane aftermath.

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