Hindu temple opens in Milford

A Hindu temple and cultural center at 25 Research Drive will celebrate its opening on Sunday, Oct. 7.

BAPS New Haven purchased the property on Research Drive, a 17,184-square-foot building on 1.77 acres of land. The organization received city approval earlier this year to convert the building to a temple and cultural center.

BAPS promotes the Hindu religion, and is dedicated to religion, community service, peace and harmony, according to an organization website. The organization has several places of worship in the United States, including a temple, or mandir, in Newington. The Milford temple is the newest one in the state.

The Milford temple is called the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, and it will be inaugurated on Oct. 7 in a ceremony led by the religious teacher, or swami, Pujya Ghanshyamcharandas, and other senior swamis of BAPS.

This temple will serve as a cultural and spiritual center for Hindu-Americans in the New Haven, Fairfield and Litchfield area of Connecticut and beyond.

The organization estimates that around 800 people will visit the new temple Oct. 7 for its opening. Many prominent leaders have been invited, including Mayor Ben Blake and other professional and business leaders in the community.

The inauguration will include a maja puja, a ritual for world peace, followed by the murti pratishtha, ritual ceremonies to invoke the spirit of God. A cultural program will performed in the evening, open to all and performed by the youth and children of BAPS. The program will include traditional music, speeches by volunteers, cultural dance performances by youths and blessings from senior swamis.

The inauguration is open to everyone. The evening cultural program will begin at 5:30, followed by a traditional mahaprasad, or grand dinner, free to anyone who attends.

The new Hindu temple and center will have children and youth activities, scriptural studies, music and language classes. The center plans to engage in charitable activities, such as conducting food drives, walk-a-thons, collecting clothing, and hosting career fairs.

Roshan Patel of Rocky Hill spoke at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting earlier this year, as the temple was being approved. Patel said he has been associated with BAPS since he was born, and was involved with the Newington mandir.

“It will be an asset to the community,” said Patel, commenting that the Newington Fire Department and the American Cancer Society have been beneficiaries of the organization’s walk-a-thons since 2006.

Patel said the Milford facility is needed because, he said, many people drive to the Newington location from the Stamford area, which is a long distance.