Center Profile

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS) (2006)

(Hinduism)


Description

History

Before this temple, area BAPS members went to the Edison temple, and also gathered in people’s homes. In 1998, Pramukh Swami, the current spiritual head of the movement, came from India to see the property that the community was trying to buy. It used to be the “American Seafood” restaurant and “Millenium Nightclub.” They struggled for two years with the city of North Bergen before they could complete the purchase.

Activities and Schedule

The daily worship schedule runs from 6:30 am to noon and 4 pm to 8 pm. BAPS worship activities are congregational and highly structured. At this temple, Sunday activities begin with morning cooking and cleaning by volunteers. From 12:30 to 1:30 pm, there is a “knowledge talk,” and in the evening, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, there is the worship activity. It begins with “dhun” (chanting God’s many names), and a “prarthana,” an intercessory prayer-poem. Then the congregation sings bhajans, songs of praise to God, then announcements followed by a lecture, which can be lead by a lay person, or a visiting saint or other qualified person. Then comes more bhajans, then arti, worship of the images, and finally, prasad, a communal meal. On Saturdays, there are often youth classes on the religion, and Gujarati language classes.

Date Center Founded
September 9, 2000

Religious Leader and Title
Amit Patel

Lay Leader and Title
Pankaj Rai; Center coordinator

Membership
400 people weekly and 600-700 for festivals.

Ethnic Composition
Gujarati (90%), also from Maharastra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh

Affiliation with Other Communities/Organizations
This temple is part of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha, based in Gujarat, India. It is one of three BAPS temples in NJ, the other two being Edison and Clifton.