Religious representatives connected to the Hindu temple under construction near Secaucus Road donated $2,000 towards the construction of the town's animal shelter.
This year's Fourth of July coincided with Guru Prunima, a high holy day celebrated by some sects on the day of the July full moon. It is considered a day of expressing gratitude.
Deputy Mayor John Reilly and Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Gonnelli accepted the donation from H.H. Acharya Swami Shrre, Chairman of the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi SansthanTemple.
In addressing the gathering at the high school, H.H. Acharya Swamie Shree emphasized the need for people to honor the rules and regulations of the place where they live.
"You must always remain faithful to that land," he said, and asked the gathering to join together for the "betterment of mankind and world peace." He said the gathering represented a combination of India's spiritual strength and America's might and power.
Gonnelli, in accepting the gift, noted that H.H. Swamie Shree represented India's three-century-old spiritual legacy. Reilly said the Temple's members have always been helpful to the town for community welfare and works. To mark the occasion, followers of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan had come from the United Kingdom, India, United Arab Republic and other parts of the United States.
Reilly said the event was part of a good-will effort on the part of the temple to offer services to the community. "When they found out we would be opening a new kennel, they insisted on donating money," Reilly said. "They have a profound respect for animals and could understand where we were coming from."
Reilly said the Temple, slated to open early in August, wanted to make itself a part of the Secaucus community. "There is almost nothing they won't do to help us," he said.
The temple will open in August
As part of the ceremony marking the Aug. 4 to 5 opening of the temple on Penhorn Avenue, devotees intend to borrow $7 million in gold for display. This is meant to exemplify the cost of the project.
The temple was designed by Uday Purushe, of Laurel Design Alliance architects, which has become one of the leading firms in the country for Hindu temple design. The temple is being construed by Bjork Construction of Midland Park. The Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission approved the project in August, 1999, with its principal concern being the traffic flow in and out of the area. The temple is located just off Secaucus Road on the North Bergen/Jersey City/Secaucus border. HMDC officials, however, said the mostly weekend use of the facility allowed the project to move ahead.
The building has two major components. The prayer hall or sanctuary has 200 seats. The multipurpose community center, where the temple proposed to hold cultural programs and religious teaching programs, can hold about 575 people. HMDC officials estimated that an average of 400 people would attend services there regularly. The parking lot will provide space for more than 100 cars.
The facility also has a small residential section for priests who will live there as well as two guests or visiting dignitaries.
Parishioners are expected to come from Jersey City, North Bergen, Secaucus and other towns throughout the northern New Jersey area.
The temple has scheduled a parade through Little India in Jersey City as part of the buildup to the opening. Local officials predict as many as 8,000 people will attend ceremonies the week of Aug. 4.