Celebrations planned for new Hare Krishna temple in Shrewsbury

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Celebrations planned for new Hare Krishna temple in Shrewsbury
The soon-to-be-opened Sri Radha Damodar Temple is located at 226R Grafton St. in Shrewsbury. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – The largest Hare Krishna temple in the New England area will soon inaugurate several deities, and it invites the community to celebrate with four days of feasting, performances and spiritual observances and ceremonies.

The Sri Radha Damodar Temple, which recently opened at 226R Grafton St. in Shrewsbury, sits on roughly nine acres of previously residential land. The two-floor building features Rajasthani-inspired architecture, and includes an expansive temple hall, preparatory rooms designed to hold religious items, classrooms and an outdoor balcony. The building overlooks acres of lush grass and intricate landscaping.

After starting in a rented room in Cambridge, the new temple represents an important expansion for the Hindu group. Temple President Sadananda Dasa, a monk who works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as one of the Hindu chaplains, told the Community Advocate that they felt blessed to move to a larger space.

“I would say it’s the grand plan of the Lord that this pocket of land came to us,” Dasa said.

Celebrations planned for new Hare Krishna temple in Shrewsbury
Sadananda Dasa stands in front of the soon-to-be-opened Sri Radha Damodar Temple. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

The group didn’t specifically seek out Shrewsbury, but Dasa said the temple was built at an ideal location. He had only positive things to say about the town and the residents.

“There are many Indians in Shrewsbury who are also followers of our faith. So, they used to come all the way from Shrewsbury [and] Westborough to Cambridge, so we were thinking if we get a property here – which has got a larger capacity – then it will be convenient for them,” he said.

“I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the people who are here in this town,” he continued. “They are very cordial… Here, people are welcoming and curious. They’re nice.”

Earlier in the week, the group moved several deities – as well as 210 cartons of books – into the building in preparation for the temple’s inauguration. From July 1 to July 4, the temple will invoke the life force in the deities by chanting hymns and mantras. There will be feasting, singing and dancing.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a treat to all the senses,” Dasa said.

The celebration is open to all community members, and Dasa encourages everyone to come.

“The people of Shrewsbury and nearby towns… should definitely come and explore. Sometimes people have some inhibitions or blocks – [saying] ‘this is a Hindu temple, what’s going on and we don’t know’ – but this is open to everyone. When we come with an open heart and try to see, you can get connected. Even if you don’t like anything… it’ll affect you positively,” he said.

Celebrations planned for new Hare Krishna temple in Shrewsbury
The soon-to-be-opened Sri Radha Damodar Temple is located at 226R Grafton St. in Shrewsbury. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Even outside of the celebration, Dasa emphasized that the temple is for the entire town.

“It is meant for the community,” he said. “We would like the local community to benefit from a spiritual center like this, which can become a source for propagating the spiritual knowledge that people are in great need of.”

Though construction is complete, the temple leaders still plan to expand. There are plans to build a kitchen toward the back of the structure to serve the needy.

For more information on the temple and celebration, visit https://www.rdmandir.org/.

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