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50yr old church building converted to Swaminarayan Hindu Temple

It is a strange one to hear that a church which old about 50 years had transformed into a Hindu temple, wanna see more? here it is.

  A 50-year-old church in Bear, Delaware in the US has been converted into a Swaminarayan Hindu temple. The pran pratistha (consecration) ceremony for the idols was held last month.

It is the third church in the US and fifth globally to be turned into a Swaminarayan temple by Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan based in Maninagar, Ahmedabad.

Apart from Delaware, churches in California and Kentucky in the US have been transformed into the temple by the sect. Similarly, two churches have been turned into temples in London and Bolton near Manchester in the UK. The sect has also acquired a few other properties in the US, the UK, and Canada.

Vasu Patel, a Delaware-based hotelier, and administrator for the temple said that the Highland Mennonite Church was acquired in 2014-15 by the Sansthan and was refurbished – complete with two shikhars and a dome which were designed and built in India – over three years. “The total project of acquiring the 3,000 square feet property and re-designing it cost about $ 1.45 million,” Patel said.

‘The temple is open for all without preference and prejudice’


Disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan residing in the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, as well as the southern region of New Jersey had to go to New Jersey temple on auspicious occasions which took about two to four hours of travel time. Sans a temple with community facilities, the devotees used to celebrate events at private residences,” said Patel.

When Purshottampriyadas Swami, spiritual head of the Sansthan was in the US a few years ago, he encouraged the disciples to search for a suitable property and one such location was in Bear. The property was complete with rooms, a kitchen and a large prayer area fit for community congregation. The acquisition was facilitated by the church was not functioning.


Talking to TOI, Bhagwatpriyadas Swami, mahant of the Sansthan, said that the sanctum sanctorum has idols of Lord Swaminarayan, Abji Bapashree, and Muktajeevan Swamibapa along with Lord Hanuman and Lord Ganpati.

“The temple is open for all without preference and prejudice. It would be a cultural nucleus for the 700-strong community in Delaware and nearby states not only for religious purposes but also cultural activities including art, drama, and craft. When Gurudev Muktjeevan Swamibapa visited the US in 1971, only a few Gujarati were living there but he encouraged them to keep Indian culture and spirituality alive in the foreign land. With increasing number of Hindu temples in the US, we see his dream getting fulfilled,” he said.



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