Bharatiya Temple and Bhartiya Cultural Center NJ
Bharatiya Temple is built on very pretty wooded lot of a little over six acres. The expansive structure is a two-story building with each floor of 8500 square feet of constructed area. The lower floor offers facility for a cultural center for the community where children of the area can learn languages and their culture. Additional features of the Temple complex include a library, kitchen facility, several classrooms for conducting classes on Indian languages, religion and spirituality, Yoga, music and dance etc. Click here for Aerial view of the temple.The facility also has a large auditorium for weddings, cultural programs and other celebrations. The upper floor is the Temple area that serves the needs of the community for their religious purposes. This is a multi-deity temple, which has main deity of Lakshmi-Narayana. In addition, other deities include Lord Venkateshwara (Balaji), Sri Ram-Sita Pariwar, Sri Radha-Krishna, Sri Shiva-Parvathi, Sri Durga Mata, Lord Ganesha, Sri Hanuman, Nava-Graha and Sri-Mahavir Swami.
In April 1998, Mr. Nand Todi formed a non-profit organization under the name Bharatiya Temple Inc. for the specific purpose of constructing a temple in this area. The Bharatiya Temple Inc (BTI) was granted federal tax-exempt status in January 1999. With word of BTI spreading, individuals with similar interests in strengthening the community through the creation of a cultural and religious center joined BTI and the core group finalized on a project, which included both temple and a cultural center.
On September 12, 1999, the first general body meeting for BTI was held to approve the project. On October 5, Montgomery Township’s Zoning Board conducted the first hearing on the project and unanimously approved the application for BTI. The first meeting of the BTI Board of Trustees was conducted on October 11, 1999 and the trustees elected a seven-member Board of Directors and approved the initial set of BTI bylaws. During the first year after the Board of Trustees was formed, the financial momentum for the project gained urgency, taking the assets from $400K to $900K.
Four years of activities and celebrations at the temple site, preceded by the efforts of many individuals to start a project such as this over the past decade, now culminated in a remarkable grand opening ceremony during the weekend of October 22-24, 2004. There was an overwhelming response from the general public in the tri-state area and approximately 3500 people visited the temple and the cultural center during its inaugural function in three days of celebrations. The special guest of the ceremonies, Swami Dayananda Ji Saraswati graced the occasion with his discourse on Indian temples and culture. In addition, County and Township officials also attended this auspicious ceremony. The celebrations featured elaborate Hindu and Jain rituals conducted by priests, religious discourse by special guests, Raas-Garba, cultural programs by the Indian community represented by different communities in the area followed by Maha Prasad.
Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped as the embodiment of material as well as spiritual prosperity and wealth. Personified as the shakthi of Lord Narayana or Mahavishnu, she represents all that is auspicious; Lakshmi Devi is portrayed as good fortune personified in a beautiful female image adorned with exquisite garments and jewelry, seated on a resplendent lotus flower, holding lotus blossoms in her hands, blessing devotees with wealth, symbolized as golden coins pouring out of her hands, extended in generosity. Sri Lakshmi Narayana is a form which inspires Hindus of all persuasions.
Lord Narayana is none other than Lord Mahavishnu, the sustaining force of the universe. Lord Narayana, worshipped as the manifest power of preservation, as Purusha, the universal being, represents benevolent strength and power. Incarnating on earth as an avatar, Lord Narayana has manifest himself in earthly forms on nine different occasions, separated by cycles of millions of years, whenever there has been an intolerable and seemingly undefeatable rise of adharma. Lord Narayana is represented with four hands, holding a conch shell (shankha), a discus (sudarshan chakra), a lotus (padma), and a mace (gadha), each of which bears symbolic representations.