GROTON, MA—A giant construction project in Massachusetts, the upcoming Sai Temple in Groton is moving along well and on schedule. With exterior walls and framing nearly complete, it will become North America’s largest Sai temple. Volunteers of New England Shirdi Sai Parviaar, known as NESSP, are planning to have a grand opening in July 2017.
Even the founders and volunteers of the upcoming two-story, 40,000-square-foot temple are stunned with the progress made on the giant structure being built on 28 acres of land so far.
“Even we cannot believe the progress we have made. We are very thankful and grateful to our supporters and volunteers who have worked tirelessly on this project ,” says NESSP President Mahender Singh.
Project architect B. D. Nayak of Braintree, MA-based B.D. Nayak Architects & Planners Inc., says the location of the temple is perfect.
“The most important for a temple is to be on a higher ground and people should be walking up there,” said Nayak, who has designed six temples in New England. “This site is on high ground. Also, from a Vastu point of view, all the statues of Gods and Goddesses will have a perfect location.”
“In addition to 40,000 square feet in two stories, there is a space for an auditorium and as well as for quarters for priests,” Nayak said.
It all began in 2006 when 10 like-minded Massachusetts families got together and formed New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar, a non-profit organization for the growing Shirdi Sai Baba devotees in New England.
“Our mission was very clear to promote the philosophy of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba and to support religious, spiritual, cultural and charitable activities in New England,” said Singh, adding that initially the group rented a tiny place for temple purposes and later expanded to a 7,200-square-foot rented facility.
When they outgrew this space, the devotees decided to take a giant step to build their own facility that could fulfill not only their spiritual needs but also serve as a community center and be open to people of all faiths and communities.
“We have grown from 10 families to 1,500 families now,” said Singh. “We did not have any experience in building a temple. All we did was believed in the philosophy and teachings of Baba and worked hard to start this project.”
NESSP currently operates out of a 7,200-square-foot rented facility in Chelmsford, MA, and will relocate to the new facility when it is completed in July 2017. NESSP acquired the land for $1.14 million and plans to spend an additional $10 million to build the new complex. As of now, the temple has already raised over $7.5 million.
Organizers say the temple has been receiving donations from across North America and from states like North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, California, and Atlanta in addition to being supported by devotees from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
When fully completed, the two-story temple will be largest Sai Temple in North America. The sprawling 28-acre campus is located in two neighboring towns of Groton and Littleton in Massachusetts. Four acres of the land is located in Littleton.
Reading, MA-based NM Construction Corp. is the general contractor.
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.