To be the first Anjaneya temple in the US.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A “bhoomi puja” was conducted this past weekend in southern Maryland at the site of a new temple dedicated to the Hindu God Hanuman.
A bhoomi puja is a ceremony conducted to sanctify the ground where a Hindu temple is to be constructed. The Shri Bhaktha Anjaneya Temple will be built on a 43-acre large plot of land in Ijamsville, Maryland, about 45 miles north of the nation’s capital. It will be the first Anjaneya temple ever built in the US, according to temple officials.
“This is a very significant day for the devotees and [the] people who are organizing and building this temple,” Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who specially flew in for the occasion, said during his address to the assembled devotees. “This will become the place of pilgrimage [and] is going to be a center for vedic ritual.”
The temple is a joint effort that brought together five priests, each of different denominations as well as cultural and religious traditions: Sridharan Vadyar (Vaishnava Purohit, Pancharatra Agama , Yajur Veda Priest), Balakrishna Bhat (Madhwa Shastra, Agama Priest), Venkatesh Vadyar (Smartha Rig Veda Priest), Pandit Thyagu Sastri (Smartha Yajurveda Priest), and Ganesan Grukkal (Shaiva Agama, Vasthu Jyothisha Priest).
“Five priests got together to create a center where seva (service) can happen,” said R.S. Venkatachalam, the cultural coordinator for the bhoomi pooja, to The American Bazaar. “Besides being a center for service, it will also be a center for worship and [a] center for learning. There will be shloka [religious recitation] classes and Sanskrit classes. There will be annadhaanam [offerings of food].”
One of the highlights of the three-day event was the presence of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, on Saturday. “The presence of Swamijee (Saraswati) was an unexpected blessing.,” said Raghuram Janamanchi, a key temple official. “Despite his health issues, he came here. It is [like] icing on the cake.”
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