Ganesh Temple History
The Hindu Temple Society of North America ("Society"), a non-profit religious institution was incorporated on January 26, 1970, under the laws of the State of New York. Soon thereafter, the Society acquired from the Russian Orthodox Church a site on which the present Temple is situated. It was in this small frame house that daily rituals were performed and weekend services conducted by volunteer priests, until the present structure, designed in accordance with the Agama Sastras (scriptures relating to temple building), was completed early in 1977, and the Temple consecrated on July 4 of the same year. His Holiness Sri La Sri Padrimalai Swamigal, a great siddha from Madras, had prepared twenty-six yantras for the temple and done pujas for them for five years before installing them on July 4, 1977.
The logo of the Society is a light surrounded by insignias of several religions with OM on top. It signifies universality, catholicity and spirit of tolerance of Hinduism. While stressing the supremacy of the Absolute and deifying some of the major aspects as represented by the main deities, the Center stresses the totality and fundamental unity at the core of all religion. Hinduism has no place for crusades.
As the first Hindu Temple in North America composed of largely imported materials, and constructed by artisans from India, Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam (or the Ganeša Temple) is one of the most impressive and historically important Hindu temples in the West. Flushing, Queens was chosen as the location for the Ganeša temple based on three criteria: it was the gateway of the U.S. - all Indian immigrants came here and there was a large concentration of Hindus in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut; it was within walking distance for many, or one bus or subway fare; and the possibility existed to purchase a suitable site. Its strength and influence outside of New York is proven by the fact that the temple has served as a model for many other Hindu communities.
The Hindu Temple Society of North America today has over twenty thousand devotees on its mailing list. In addition to these, there are thousands of other devotees not necessarily on the mailing list who benefit from religious and cultural activities of the Temple, and to which generous contributions are made. It is the intent of the Society to offer formal instructions in religion, philosophy, culture and the arts to its devotees and their families. Fund Raising activities of the temple include organizing pooja sponsorship (services), cultural events, temple gift certificate, fund raising dinner, gold coin mala, sponsorship of chairs and constituent parts for the community center and other projects.
Neighborhood and Community
The Hindu Temple is situated right in the heart of Flushing, which is a part of Queens County. Although Queens is, politically speaking, one of the five boroughs of New York City, it is, in geographical terms, a part of Long Island and is, therefore, largely a residential area. The Temple is easily accessible to its devotees both by private and public transportation. Within walking distance of the Temple are two branches of the New York Public Library, the Queens Botanical Garden, Kissena Park, and Flushing Meadow Park, and the Main Post Office. The Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts is a stone’s throw from the Temple, while the Queens Museum is a short ride away by automobile or subway.
Construction of Community Center was completed in June 1998. This community center is one of the largest and the finest of its type in the borough of Queens and has its main entrance at the corner of Holly Avenue and Smart Street. The center has three floors. The main floor is the wedding hall and can be divided into two, with a sound proof partition in between, so that two functions may take place simultaneously. The second floor is the auditorium with seating capacity of over 700 and it is equipped with state of the art audio and lighting facility. In the lower level is a large industrial kitchen with a large dining hall. Cultural programs, discourses, weddings and many other events take place in the Community Center.
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