Temple History

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.

From that humble beginning, the Temple has been surging ahead making its mark and getting recognition for its accomplishments and contributions to the Community. These changes were focused on meeting the needs of the ever-increasing number of devotees of Šri Ganeša, the presiding Deity of the Temple. The Temple, traditionally known as Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam, has established a Hindu Religious and Cultural Center Complex on Bowne Street. This street was named after John Bowne, a distinguished American who strove for religious freedom and anti-slavery movement. This was the first authentic Hindu Temple in North America built with traditional granite stones imported from India; and so is one of the most historically and architecturally important Temples in the West. The Temple has recently expanded, more than doubling in size.

The logologo2 of the Society is a light surrounded by insignia’s 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.

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, fund-raising dinners, gold coin mala sponsorship 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.

For further information please call (718) 460-8484 ext. 112 or email us at hts@nyganeshtemple.org