Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Temple Secaucus celebrated its 20th anniversary in Secaucus earlier this month. The two day-event featured a “unity carnival,” religious discourses, a visit from local leaders, a performance by the Temple’s Indian-American bagpipe band, and an array of vegetarian Indian food.
Two decades in Secaucus
August 1, 2021 marked 20 years since the temple opened. It was the first traditional, ‘Shikhar-Bandh’ Hindu Swaminarayan Mandir on the East Coast of the United States.
A Unity Carnival, with fun and games, was held on July 31. The idea was to bring the community together after being apart for almost 16 months due to COVID-19. The celebration was held observing local, state, and federal safety guidelines
On Aug. 1, the annual Temple Anniversary celebrations, known as Patotsav, took place. The Secaucus Fire Company, with Mayor Michael Gonnelli, ceremonially raised new flags on the Temple’s three domes, or Shikhar.
A moment of silence honored those who lost their lives during the pandemic, health care workers, essential workers, and those who did service or charity work during those difficult times.
The religious ceremony was conducted by the Temple priest and volunteers. A massive array of vegetarian and plant-based food, known as annakut, was offered to Lord Swaminarayan. The Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band North America, formed at the Secaucus Temple and composed of young devotees, performed American, Indian, and religious music throughout the day.
Sixth Heir to Lord Swaminarayan and Leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Acharya Shree Jitendriyapiraydasji Swamiji Maharaj joined live, from India, to give blessings to the congregation.
Entrenched in the community
Featured guests included Gonnelli, Secaucus Council Members Rob Constantino and John Gerbasio, and Shastri Jagdish Tripathi of Govind Dham. Gonnelli thanked the temple for its contributions to the community and for wearing masks and getting vaccinated.
Throughout the pandemic, the Secaucus Temple distributed over 20,000 free masks, vaccinated its entire congregation in March of 2021 in partnership with RiteAid, and delivered warm meals to nearly 1,000 frontline workers in Hudson County. At the ceremony in August, donations were made on behalf of the Temple to three Hudson County charities.
Shashtri Jagdish Tripathi read a poem commemorating the Temple’s anniversary.
“You may become anything in this world, but you are nothing without what got you there,” Shashtri Jagdish Tripathi said. “And this temple, for all of you, is what helps get you where you want to get.”
A Temple volunteer reflected by sharing that “20 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Being a religious institution has been very fulfilling but what has been equally fulfilling is being entrenched in the community. We pray to Lord Swaminarayan, Founder of Swaminarayan Gadi Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, Founder of our Temple Acharya Swamishree PurushottamPriyadasji Maharaj, and to our current Guru Acharya Shree JitendriyaPriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj that our Temple continues to be a cultural and social safe haven.”
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