Hindu Temple Society of North America

Coordinates: 40°45′09.9″N 73°49′00.6″W / 40.752750°N 73.816833°W / 40.752750; -73.816833
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Hindu Temple Society of North America
Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam
Exterior of the Hindu Temple Society of North America
Location45-57 Bowne St, Queens, NY 11355
StateNew York
CountryUnited States
Hindu Temple Society of North America is located in New York City
Hindu Temple Society of North America
Shown within New York City
Geographic coordinates40°45′09.9″N 73°49′00.6″W / 40.752750°N 73.816833°W / 40.752750; -73.816833

The Hindu Temple Society of North America is a nonprofit organization that manages the Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam temple in Flushing, Queens, in New York City.[1] It is known as the Ganesha Temple after its main deity, Ganesha,[1] and is the second-oldest Hindu temple in the United States built by Indian immigrants.[2][3] Uma Mysorekar has served as the society's president since 1994.[1]


The central deity of the temple is Ganesha.[1] The sacred images of Venkateswara, Lakshmi, Shiva, Parvati, Durga, Saraswati, Hanuman, Kumbha Chandikeshwara,Dhvani Chandikeshwara, Dakshinamurthy, Gayatri, Shanmukha, Valli, Devasena, Kamakshi, Navagraha, Nagendra Swamy, Navagraha, Raghavendra Swamy, Rama Parivar, Radha-Krishna, Khodiyar Mata, Ayyappan, Agastriyar, and Lopa Mudra, Satyanarayan and Rama Devi, Chandrasekaraswamy and Anandavalli, Atma Linga, Nataraja, Trishula astradeva, Ankusha Astradeva, Sivakami and Manikkavachakar, Swarna Bairavar, Sudarsana and Narasimha, Dhanvantari and Garuda, and Sridevi and Bhumi have also been consecrated within the temple.[4]


According to the Department of City Planning, the number of Indians situated in New York City grew from an estimated 6,000 people to 94,000 people, between 1970 and 1990.[5] The increasing number of Indians emigrating to the United States came as a result of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.[5]

Before the Hindu Temple Society of North America was established in 1970, Alagappa Alagappan, one of its founders, hosted meetings for members in his living room.[5] The organization acquired the land of a former Russian Orthodox Church and designed a traditional Hindu temple in its place.[6] The construction was completed in 1977 and the consecration ceremony was performed on July 4, 1977.[1][6] The design of the temple's exterior was inspired by the face of traditional Hindu temples found in South India.[1]

In October 1998, the temple inaugurated the Ganesha Patasala to be used for youth activities.[7] The patasala offers classes to youths in subjects like mathematics, linguistics, religion, bhajanams, and dance.[7]

The temple was reconsecrated in 2009.[8]


Dr. Uma Mysorekar began her involvement with the temple services in the mid-1980s and has served as the president since 1994.[1][9] Mysorekar graduated with a medical degree from Bombay University and practiced as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist.[1][10]

Mysorekar has been awarded the Kannada Rajyotsava Award from Karnataka, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Governor's Award of Excellence, and a "token of esteem" by the City Lore's People's Hall of Fame.[1][11][12] She was also chosen by Barack Obama's presidential inaugural committee to join several other religious leaders in the national prayer service, on the day of his inauguration.[13]


The temple is constructed using granite. It is entered through a gopuram gateway. The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, while other shrines house idols of Lord Balaji, Goddess Mahalakshmi, Lord Hanuman, and Sri Nagendra Swamy. The temple includes a dhvaja sthambha (column) and a rajagopuram (lofty tower). Temple architect Sthapathi Muthiah supervised the reconstruction.

Temple canteen[edit]

Underneath the ground level, the temple houses a vegetarian restaurant called the Temple Canteen.[14] The Temple Canteen was established in 1993.[14] The canteen feeds 4,000 people a week, with as many as 10,000 during the Deepavali (Diwali) holiday.[15]


At the Hindu Temple Society of North America, a dispute arose in 2003 regarding the leadership of the temple.[16] Six plaintiffs expressed that the temple was being run too autocratically, and wanted the opportunity to vote for a board of trustees.[16] The temple trustees believed that the plaintiffs questioned the leadership because they wanted to gain control of the temple, themselves.[16] Ultimately, judge Joseph Golia ruled that a referee would facilitate an election for a new board of trustees.[17] After the first election, the board of trustees that served the temple previously were re-elected.[18]


In September 1995, the Ganesha drinking milk miracle was observed at the temple. It was reported that "People held the spoon filled with milk under the trunk, by the mouth, and the milk would be taken up".[19]

Nearby temples in Flushing[edit]

  • Asamai Hindu Temple, 45-32 Bowne Street: Representing the ancient Afghan Hindu community, honoring Asamai, the city goddess of Kabul
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 44-38 Bowne Street: The first Swaminarayan sect temple in North America (inaugurated in 1974).
  • Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, 46-16 Robinson Street: dedicated to Shirdi Sai Baba, inaugurated April 2010[20]
  • Jain Center of America 43-11 Ithaca Street: Shri Mahavir Swami in the Shwetambar tradition, Upashrayain the Sthanakvasi tradition, Sri Adinath in the Digambar tradition and Shrimad Rajchandra Meditation Hall.
  • John Bowne House, 37-01 Bowne Street, the house of the Bowne family which contributed to religious freedom in USA in the 17th century.
  • Om Sai Mandir, 45-11 Smart Street Om Sai Mandir.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Min, Pyong (2010). Preserving Ethnicity through Religion in America. New York University Press. ISBN 9780814759585.
  2. ^ "The Temple Builders". pluralism.org.
  3. ^ Davidson, Linda Kay (2002). Pilgrimage [2 Volumes]: From the Ganges to Graceland, An Encyclopedia. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 235–236.
  4. ^ "Devatas". Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  5. ^ a b c Martin, Douglas (November 2014). "Alagappa Alagappan, 88, Dies; Founded Hindu Temples Across U.S." The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b Gupte, Pranay (1977-06-04). "Hindu Temple, 'Just Like India,' Opens in Queens". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  7. ^ a b Thomases, Drew. "Following the Swami: Diaspora, Dialogue, and the Creation of a Hindu Identity in a Queens Community" (PDF). hamilton.edu.
  8. ^ "Reconsecration, With Bells, Saffron and Elephant (Published 2009)". 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2023-08-16.
  9. ^ Deepti Hajela (2021-12-13). "In Hinduism, women creating spaces for their own leadership". WDIV. Associated Press. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  10. ^ "Dr. Uma Mysorekar – AAPIQLI". Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  11. ^ "Karnataka Government". karnataka.gov.in. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  12. ^ "The Ellis Island Awards". Rediff. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  13. ^ Service, Indo-Asian News. "Hindu Priest in Obama's Inauguration Prayer [incl. Ingrid Mattson]". Campus Watch. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  14. ^ a b Sammons, Lisa (2022-02-17). "A Secret Door Will Take You To An Underground Restaurant In New York That's Beneath A Hindu Temple". OnlyInYourState. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  15. ^ Shivani Vora (October 28, 2016). "In Line for Blessings and Sweets at Hindu Temple Canteen". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Worth, Robert F. (2003-12-05). "A Hindu Temple of Discord; Amid Priests and Chants, a Bitter Campaign for Leadership". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  17. ^ Brownlow, Ron. "Cook Withdraws From Lawsuit Against Flushing Hindu Temple". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  18. ^ York, George Joseph in New. "NY trust wins right to manage Flushing temple". Rediff. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  19. ^ Singleton, Don (September 24, 1995). "Miracle has a Milky Way". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2022-03-30.
  20. ^ Temple Inauguration, SAI SMRITI, Volume 1, Issue 1, April—June 2011, http://dwarakamaishirdi.org/uploads/april%20issue.pdf

External links[edit]