The new Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Temple in Ijamsville will be completed within the next few months. Planning for the 5,200-square-foot Hindu temple, to be located on 43 acres off of Fingerboard Road, started about three years ago.
Five local priests initiated the idea for the new temple after seeing the community’s need for a place for Hindus to pray. They chose the location because many Hindus live in the region, and because the property’s zone category allows religious institutions. The temple will serve the needs of Hindu devotees in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., areas.
While the new temple is under construction, area Hindus have been attending temples in other locations such as Fairfax, Va., and Lanham, Md. For religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, Hindus living in Frederick County gather at a home near the temple construction site or rent a school auditorium.
The new temple will provide ceremonies for a wide range of occasions such as weddings, baby showers, birthdays and deaths. Hindu classes for young people and the elderly will also be offered at the temple.
During the second phase of construction, a larger, 60,000-square-foot temple will be started within a couple of years and completed five years from now.
Murali Pathy, a volunteer and Hindu devotee who lives in Germantown, said that the Hindu devotees are conscious about being respectful of neighbors’ privacy and comfort. Members of the local Hindu community met with their neighbors before purchasing the property and discussed issues such as noise, lighting, landscaping and fences.
“We didn’t want to create ripples, we want to bring happiness,” said Pathy.
“We have a very good relationship with the neighbors,” she said, adding that neighbors often attend concerts and other events in the local Hindu community. Neighbors also enjoy eating Indian food and desserts, he said; many of the Hindus in the area are of Indian heritage. “We are very thankful to those neighbors and the community for embracing us and welcoming us,” said Pathy.
The new temple, which will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m., will have altars for different deities and will feature one primary deity.
Santhana Shanmugan, an Adamstown resident and volunteer in the local Hindu community, said that the temple will allow local residents to get more involved in the Hindu culture.
“Hinduism is a lifestyle,” said Shanmugan, who helps the community with web site and graphic design and moved to the U.S. from India 12 years ago. There, people go to the temple daily to pray in the morning and evening, she said.
The design for the new temple in Ijamsville is very similar to temples in India, though it has been altered to make it weatherproof to endure the winters in Maryland. An American architect and an Indian architect worked together to design it, and about 20 construction workers from India temporarily relocated to build it.
Before serving in a temple, Hindu priests study for seven years or more in India. “They have a very rigorous curriculum,” said Pathy. The priests for the Ijamsville temple can all speak English, and most of them have been living in the area for more than 10 years.
Local residents of all faiths can attend the events at the new temple, said Pathy. “Everybody is welcome.”
For more information about the Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Temple, visit www.sbat.org.