The intricately carved temple to Ganesha, one of the most worshipped of the Hindu deities, with his distinctive elephant head, is a beautiful sculpted building, that wouldn’t look out of place in Southern India. Remarkably, this astonishing temple is not to be found in India, but amongst the suburban family homes of Flushing, Queens.
Home of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, but popularly known as the Ganesh Temple, it was the first traditional Hindu temple built in the United States. Built on Bowne Street on land bought from the Russian Orthodox Church, the incredible Hindu temple was begun in 1970, for the rapidly increasing Hindu immigrant population of New York.
Built in the South Indian style, by skilled craftsmen and temple builders from India, the idol images are carved from granite imported from India as well. The temple itself is a thriving place of worship and popular community centre. Non-Hindu visitors are welcome, although photography of the silver shrines covered in colourful garlands is not allowed.
Underneath the Temple is the community canteen, that serves some of the best South Indian Dosas to be found in the city. The beauty, serenity and friendliness of the Ganesh Temple, is matched by the deliciousness of the food below, making the Hindu Temple Society of North America a delight to all the senses.
Know Before You Go
If you want to go into the temple, they have a dress code. No sleeveless tops, no shorts, no short skirts, no leather, no furs, basically no dead animal products. If your bottoms are inappropriate, they will rent you some baggy pants. No shoes are allowed inside the temple. Be prepared to take your shoes off outside. Canteen is in the basement accessed off Holly St.