The Evolution of Staten Island Hindu Temple, Inc, Shree Ram Mandir
Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of the New York City, famous for more than 170 parks and known as “Greenest Borough” is an ideal place for contemplation. The proximity of the Island to other boroughs of New York City as well as State of New Jersey make it all the more suitable for immigrants from all over to call it home. During the 1970 to 1980 the population of Hindus grew at a faster pace on the island, and continue to grow. To fulfill their spiritual needs, Hindus congregated in various family rooms to participate in prayers, spiritual discourses by visiting scholars. To follow the age-old tradition of worship (Iswar Puja), listening (sravana), faith (aastha), and japa (chanting of Vedic hymns), necessity of building a place of Hindu worship became evident.
An organization namely, Staten Island Hindu Temple, Inc was registered with the State of New York in 1997. There was a consensus to name the temple after Shree Rama. This led to the purchase of property at 1318 Victory Blvd. Staten Island, in June 2001 with the intent to build the temple by replacing the existing structure. The congregation of Hindus consecrated the new temple structure with Hindu religious invocations (bhoomi puja) by priests in 2004. Construction of the temple began making the dream a reality. Construction was completed in 2006. Inauguration of the temple premises, the house of God (Devalaya) took place with worship according to Hindu rituals of temple entry (devalaya pravesana) thereafter. Various Hindu deities were included inside the temple premises as per the wishes of different denominations of the Hindus with different cultures and traditions thereby reflecting a harmonious and peaceful confluence of all traditions of devotees.
The marble and granite deities from India were located as per the temple architect. Prana Pratishta (consecration of idols) for Lord Ganesha, Ram Parivar and Venkateswara was performed in August 2007, followed by Ayyappa in November 2007, and then Siva-Parvati, Durga Devi , Lakshmi Devi, Saraswati Devi, Radha-Krishna, Subramanya and Hanuman in 2008. A Jain priest performed Prana Pratista for Mahavir in 2009. Finally , in 2010 Prana Pratishta Mahotsavam was performed for Siva Linga along with Navagrahas on a grand scale. Construction was thus completed and the dream of the devotees fulfilled. The temple is serving all the spiritual needs of the Asian Indian American Community for generations to come.
The Community hall annex is a vital part of the temple to facilitate music, dance and language classes. Purna Vidya classes are held every Sunday. Temple also participates in Community Days and Interfaith activities including organizing health seminars, collecting and distributing clothes and canned food to the needy. Various cultural events take place in the community hall on a regular basis.