First U.S. Sikh owned funeral home opens in Fresno Co.

March 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A momentous day for the Valley Sikh community, as leaders open the doors to what they say is the country's first owned and operated Sikh funeral home.

After two years of construction, the Shant Bhvan Funeral Home finally opened its doors for business Wednesday morning.

Harry Gill said, "It feels so good because I was in India, I came back for this thing and it comes out of dreams come true. It's the first in the nation in all of the U.S. and we are proud of it."

The opening is meaningful to the Valley's growing Sikh and Indian population. Supporters say many have been waiting years for a unique and large scale facility that accommodates their needs.

From the technology to the theater style seating, the Shant Bhavan has an array of amenities. In fact, hundreds of people can sit comfortably while attending a service.

The 12-thousand square foot facility features two separate service spaces with room for overflow.

Funeral officials hope the entryway with marble floors and two crystal chandeliers will provide a beautiful setting to comfort families.

Dr. Boota Chahil said, "They feel it is their own place and they feel more comfortable talking to the people."

Dr. Chahil says the facility is also a one-stop shop for all funeral service needs. The home has two crematoriums and an onsite embalming room.

Gill added, "They are inquiring all the way from Bakersfield to Modesto they want to bring their loved ones to their funeral home because that's one of a kind."

While the funeral home was built with Sikh roots, officials hope that the Shant Bhavan or "Place of Peace" will be a welcoming space for people of all faiths.


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