WFY Today

Prarthana Samaj: Toronto’s oldest Hindu temple that looks like a church draws diaspora crowd

Toronto’s oldest Hindu temple, which has striking similarities with a church, became a major centre of congregation and -religio-cultural activities of Indian diaspora people.

A growing number of NRIs are attending congregations at the temple, which remains agog with Indian-origin people of all hues. Gauri Sharma, who first arrived in Toronto from India in 2004, said she was eagerly searching for a Hindu temple to connect with members from her community.

Soon Gauri found Hindu Prarthana Samaj as the ideal place to visit. Initially, she took the temple as a church that had all the trappings of the structure of that type.

According to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, the Hindu Prarthana Samaj temple is the oldest in the city and one of the oldest in North America. Indian diaspora people in Toronto are visiting the temple for around half a century.

Gauri further said the temple has been integral to her stay in Canada, where she wanted to get connected to cultural roots.

As a doting mother, she wanted her four-year-old son, Dhruv, to be rooted to the tradition then. The boy has grown up now and follows the tradition diligently.

Since 1986, Naresh Thakur, the general secretary of the temple committee, first started out doing volunteer work in the kitchen of the temple. He said the temple would be renovated soon after years of planning.

The Indian community is now buzzing with excitement at the news.

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