The Hindu Temple of Rochester is a members owned, volunteer-driven, community-supported, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Hindu Temple of Rochester is an integral part and a significant, vibrant center of spirituality and practice of the Hindu faith for devotees around Rochester in Western New York. It is also an educational center teaching close to hundred children about Hinduism, the traditions, cultural underpinnings and Indian languages. It is a place where families can come, do pujas and celebrate their special occasions. Temple also rents out Temple facilities for community and public/private events (sabha’s, special occasions, banquets, marriages, anniversaries etc.) for a nominal donation. In addition, the Temple is actively involved in other areas community support activities such as inter-faith services, food donations, health walks, yoga classes and Professional Forum community events etc.
Brief History: As Hindu families moved to Rochester in the sixties and seventies, they started getting together to celebrate our festivals and to do Pujas. As more families moved in, they felt a need for a Hindu Temple here. The Hindu Temple of Rochester, Inc. was registered with NY State in 1975 and a Federal Tax-Exempt status was obtained in 1976. Over the next few years Temple started regular pujas, celebration of festivals, language classes etc.
The Hindu families came together and decided to build a Temple in 1986. After a long and thorough search, the present 9.4 acres of land was acquired in 1990 for $131,000. Bhoomi Puja was performed by Shri Morari Bapu in May 1991. Site plans were approved by the town in Oct. 1991 and ground-breaking ceremony was held in May 1992.
Very prudently, the Trustees decided to build the Temple in phases to keep the debt manageable. The objective was to retire all loans before moving to the next phase. Phase-I included putting an access road, constructing the parking lot and construction of 50’x80’ shell of building on 2 levels and making lower level functional. This was done from 1993-1995 at a total cost of $ 576,000. All loans were retired by 1997. Phase-II commenced in 1998 to finish the upper level and construction of Devasthanams for the Deities. This was completed in 1998- 99 at a cost of $375,000. By year 2000 Ram Parivar, Radha Krishna Parivar, Shiv Parivar, Murugan Parivar, Venkateshwara, Shiv Lingam and Durga Matha murthies were installed separately at an additional cost. Temple began to function in full earnest offering many services that our community wanted.
The Maha Kumbhabhishekam was performed in a grand manner in the summer of 2011 generating much goodwill towards and support for the Temple. The Ganesha Murthi was installed in 2012 and the Hanuman Murthi in 2013. Thanks to the surplus funds raised by these events and frugal management of Temple's resources, the Phase-III loan was paid off in Jan. 2015. Now that we had a more moderns, spacious facility, the language, arts and heritage classes expanded to accommodate the needs of an increasing membership. Temple also hosted a number of cultural events, sat sanghs, social events, and expanded the schedule of Pujas and festivals.
Members approved the Phase-IV at a Special General Body meeting in Feb. 2015. The original included completing the structural aspect of our Temple by constructing Gopuras (aka Shikar’s), exterior ornamentation, Kitchen expansion and other cosmetic changes (landscaping etc.) to create the serene surroundings of a Temple. With God's Grace and devotees support, Phase-IV was complete in 2020.
Temple also started an Annual Sarva Devatha Brahmotsavam in 2019 that’s held every year since then. Despite the pandemic headwinds over the last few years, Temple added an outside Parikrama path, Navagraha’s, Temple Garden, Sarva-Devatha Vaahan’s, Dwajastambam (flag-pole) and an Entrance gate.
Our Head Priest Shri. L.V. Govind Bhattar is the ‘cheerleader-in-chief’ of our Temple. Shri Govind has served our Temple and community for 26+ years and has been instrumental to the growth of our Temple. Our team of volunteers and office-bearers are instrumental in making our Temple a true sanctuary for Hinduism practitioners.
Temple also hired a 2nd full-time priest Shri Manish Sharma in 2022, who is well educated in gurukul type schooling from Kashi and also an award-winning student in Vedas and ritual chanting’s.