The Bharatiya Temple - Troy, MI
The Bharatiya Temple - Troy, MI

History of the Temple

In the early seventies, there was a dream among Hindus settled in the Metro Detroit area to set up a self perpetuating eternal religious and cultural organization which could fulfill the spiritual and cultural needs of the Indian community. An initiative towards this goal was taken when a group of about 30 persons gathered on January 25, 1975 at the Northwood Inn, Royal Oak to discuss this possibility. The idea of setting up a Hindu Temple was born during this meeting.

As a result of this meeting, an ad-hoc committee consisting of seven persons was formed and was charged with the responsibility of organizing a fund raising event for this purpose and of drafting an appropriate constitution which could be used as a guidelines to streamline the process of creating such an organization. It was decided that the organization would represent all the good aspects of great Indian heritage and would attempt to foster and promote all aspects of Indian way of life, Indian philosophy and religion. The constitution and by laws prepared by the ad-hoc committee were adopted during the first fund raising event held at the Kingsley Inn on March 21, 1975. It was decided to provide a Temple for the worship by devotees and for other cultural activities. A total of $140,000 worth of pledges were made by about 200 families. A new committee was charged with the responsibility of selecting an appropriate site for the Temple and subsequently, based on its recommendations, an excellent 18 acres lot at the Northwest corner of Troy was acquired at the total cost of $70,000. This is the site where the Temple presently stands.

It was initially planned to develop with a budget of $500,000 a Temple which could accommodate approximately 350 to 400 people. On the Independence day, July 4, 1976, the Bhoomi Pooja was performed. The organization of pooja and celebration was undertaken under the guidance of Sri Satguru Sant Keshavadas and Dr. T. K. Venkateswaran, Professor of Hindu studies at the University of Detroit. Soon the whole project gained momentum and generous donations for the building fund began to pour in.

Under the able guidance of Sant Keshavadas, Brahmacharini Pavitraji and Acharya Sampat Kumar, the ground breaking ceremonies were performed on June 1, 1980. With a collected funds of about $105,000, the construction of the Temple began almost immediately, commencing on October 2, 1980 on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. A tentative building loan was approved by the Michigan National Bank.

The formal inauguration took place on July 19, 1981 by Swami Chinmayananda and Satguru Keshavadas. Another milestone was achieved on November 19th and 20th, 1983 with the installation of deities, Sri Lakshmi Narayana,Sri Ganesh and Sri Hanuman under the guidance of Sri Janaki Rama Sastry of Raja Rameshwari Peetham and Swami Alamlokananda of Vivekananda Monastery & Retreat at Ganges, Michigan.

Since then the Temple has grown significantly in terms of its activities, building expansion as well as in the size of the congregation.

Currently, the complex includes the Main Pooja Hall, which could comfortably seat about 400 devotees, a Multi-purpose Hall with Yagna facilities, a Kitchen and Dining facility and a small apartment for priest or guests. The annual operating budget of the Temple is close to half a million dollars. The Temple currently has about six hundred dues paying member families with a large number of life members. A variety of religious services and poojas are performed during the week. The most notable is the Services during Sunday mornings (10:30am -12:00 noon) which are typically attended by a large congregation of 400 plus devotees. The Sunday services consist of a variety of activities such as regular prayers, Bhajans, religious single theme discourses respected visitors or certain learned members of the community and the discussions of Hindu philosophy and Hindu way of living. The format is varied to accommodate the interests of every cross-section of the community. Typically, English is used as the language for any discoursed or communication during the services. Quite frequently, the Temple is visited by various classes of religious studies students and associated faculty members from the universities and colleges in region.