How the Temple Serves the Community

Although the community mostly uses the Ganesh Temple as a place of worship, the temple provides other important services to the community as well. There are rooms in the basement of the temple that are rented out to members of the community and anyone else who has use of the space. Many devotees choose to rent halls that are located in the basement for their own private services, especially on holy occasions that the temple celebrates, in order to show their devotion. This allows them to have more intimate gatherings with family and friends while in prayer. This aspect of the temple is hugely popular and attracts people to make sure of its space. In addition, people who invite friends to their private services bring new members to the temple adding to the existing religious community of that area.

Next to the temple is a grand auditorium that seats over 700 people. The auditorium is used for weddings and religious lectures, as well as social programs, dances, and music events. With these social programs and events, the temple offers more than just religion to the community. In addition, these community events and social programs allow members of the temple and the surrounding area of Flushing gather and socialize. This makes the Ganesh Temple a helpful and important part of Flushing. To avoid conflict, the temple avoids holding political events maintaining the ideals of peace and serenity of Hinduism.

The priests in the temple are also available to visit people at their homes when they are requested, for events such as babies’ birthdays and final rights. Priests also go to cremation ceremonies to pray for the deceased.

Another unofficial role that the Ganesh Temple plays in the Flushing community is a way to include immigrants into the community. When immigrants first move to Flushing from India, all they know is their family and maybe some close friends, but not much else. The temple is a place where these new immigrants can go to meet neighbors and socialize in a place where everyone shares their religious beliefs and practices. By meeting their neighbors in the temple, immigrants can also get to know more about the neighborhood they live in, so that their adjustment to their new home is a lot smoother. The Ganesh Temple, which continues to use traditional services and practices (unlike some other Hindu temples in New York City), provides familiarity to immigrants. Having a traditional Hindu temple to go to that reminds them of what they left behind helps South Asian immigrants adjust to their new surroundings and cope with any homesickness they may feel.

The Ganesh temple serves a meaningful purpose in the area where it resides, helping people assimilate into their new city while preserving the age-old traditions of Hinduism. An important aspect of the temple and the reason why it is so popular in New York City is the fact that it remains very traditional, sticking to the old practices of Hinduism. Mr. Padmanabhan says of the Ganesh Temple, “While other Hindu temples become more modern and convenient to New Yorkers, the Ganesh Temple is a strictly traditional temple.” The strict traditional practices of the temple are something the appeals to the Flushing community, especially immigrants, who want to continue to practice Hinduism in a traditional temple. This is a vital part of their community, for both the religious and the non-religious.




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