There is no other temple complex in the world like Hindu-Jain Temple of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In response to social & religious needs of a growing population of followers of Hinduism & other Indic religions, a 7-acre parcel of land was purchased in April 1973. Original idea was to build a center of worship, which can be shared and supported by all. Goal was (& remains) to provide for Religious, Social, Cultural & Humanitarian needs of the community. Aim also was (& is) to provide religious, cultural, social education to future generations to continue our rich & timeless traditions. The original site had a converted church building, which was used for functions during the initial years.
In 1980, some families pledged an initial sum of money for the construction of a new Temple. It took a legal battle to finally get necessary permits and zoning. Indian philanthropist Sri G.D.Birla was contacted and he agreed to provide murtis as well as architectural help. After much deliberations, the architectural style (NAGRADI- popular in North, Central & Eastern India) as well as principal deities to be installed were agreed upon. Groundbreaking ceremony took place on the Dussera Day in 1981. Swami Sadanand Saraswatiji and Sant Narayan muniji (now known as Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji) from Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, India honored our request and laid the foundation stone. This indeed was an act of divine providence because this began a very close relationship between the Parmarth Niketan and the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Pittsburgh. Because of this relationship Sant Narayan Muniji arrived in Pittsburgh. Under his divine presence and guidance, the temple became alive and vibrant. Swamiji’s role in establishing this temple is invaluable.
A basic shell for the temple was first created by local artisans and then shilpies from India were called upon to finish the ornate interior work as well as the elegant exterior work and the shikhars. On May 13th 1984, the Pran Pratishtha of the deities took place in a grand Vedic tradition. The name of the temple was changed from Hindu Temple to Hindu Jain Temple in 1986. The construction work was finally completed and grand inauguration took place in September 1990. The Temple is operated by Hindu Temple Society of North America, Pittsburgh. This is an end result of the vision, dedication, hard work, generosity and sacrifices of a number of initial members, some of whom even mortgaged their homes to donate the money.
Members participate in diverse celebrations led by various groups and enrich themselves. This has broadened the horizons and outlooks of the youth and the adults alike. The temple schools help the youth learn their mother tongue, religion and culture. For the children and the generations to come, the temple is more than a place of worship. It is a link to their roots and a symbol of their great Hindu heritage and a source of their identity, unity and to instill in them our basic values such as truth, non-violence, tolerance and piece.
As Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji once remarked “Everyone who enters this temple must keep in mind that we are entering a temple in which there is music of harmony, love and peace. As we discard our shoes before entering the temple, we should discard our egos and sectarian fanaticism.” This temple is the first unified Hindu-Jain Temple in North America and perhaps in the world and is a unique example of understanding, tolerance and appreciation of each other’s religious practices and traditions.