GROTON, MA — New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar has postponed the much-awaited grand opening of North America’s largest Sai temple in Groton, MA. The grand opening was scheduled to take place this month with a big fanfare, but has been postponed until next year, a temple official said.
Srinivas Jidge told INDIA New England News that opening was delayed because temple authorities did not get the occupancy permit from the city. He said temple should be getting the permit soon and that grand opening has been postponed until 2018.
The two-story, 40,000-square-foot temple is being built on a 28-acre site in Groton. The temple currently operates out of a 7,200-square-foot rented facility in Chelmsford, MA, and will relocate to the new facility when it officially opens.
In a statement to INDIA New England News, NESSP said that it has been working very diligently with the general contractor and town officials for last couple of weeks to obtain various permits and most importantly the occupancy permit.
“Due to the unprecedented scale of construction involved in the construction of the temple and the huge anticipated impact this new temple will have on surrounding communities, and huge attendance expected for the grand inauguration of this temple the towns are introducing extra steps in the occupancy permit process and suggesting various corrective actions to be taken,” the statement said. “Given that the temple is going to generate high volume in traffic and devotees converging round the clock, these extra steps and requirements are being introduced from a safety, capacity management and well being perspective. The general contractor has been addressing these requirements steadily, addressed a bunch so far but some of them are taking longer given their stringent requirement scope. We are working diligently with General contractor and the Town building teams to expedite these additional steps introduced in the overall process.”
The statement said that town officials are getting excited with the potential impact that the temple will bring and they are very supportive and want the temple to move in soon, but there are certain safety and adherence items which need to be addressed for right reasons.
“As much as we would all want, there are no short cuts to getting it done right,” the statement said. “Given this situation, and the upcoming winter season, we have decided that it is best to postpone the Inauguration which was scheduled for Nov 23rd and Nov 25th to a future date. With Baba’s blessings, we aspire to inaugurate soon and will keep everyone posted on the progress to secure the permit. We appreciate everyone’s patience and certainly understand the eagerness with which everyone wants to move into the new temple.”
The statement said that ironically, the original plan was to inaugurate the temple in 2018 in line with the centennial year of Baba’s Samadhi.
“With his blessings, we will welcome the new year and his centennial anniversary with our new temple dedicated to him,” the statement said. “It seems that it would be in line with him moving from Dwarkamai to Samadhi Mandir in 1918 and now from our current temple to the new temple in 2018.”
NESSP acquired the land for $1.14 million and is spending an additional $10 million to build the new complex. When completed, the new temple will be largest Sai Temple in North America.
The first phase of construction of the temple complex includes a temple building, a kitchen, a big dining hall and few community rooms. The second phase will include three residential units for priests and a 500-seat auditorium.
The temple will be will be open to everyone and people can hold weddings, ayengetrams and other community and cultural events. The temple complex will provide a great venue for poojas, learning and weddings where havans in open can be held and barat (wedding party) can come with horses and full festivities like in India.
Reading, MA-based NM Construction Corp. is the general contractor. The project architect is Braintree, MA-based BD Nayak Architects. Both have extensive experience in building religious institutions in New England.
Founded in 2006, New England Shirdi Sai Parviaar (NESSP) is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to promote the philosophy of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba and to accordingly support religious, spiritual, cultural and charitable activities. NESSP was formed by devotees who share their love for Shri Shirdi Sai Baba and are inspired by His teachings.