A New Shiva Temple Complex Planned on a 17-Acre Site in Bellingham, MA

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At the real estate closing (L–R) are Nicole Shannon, the property seller’s attorney; Christopher Nichols, the Temple’s attorney; Mrs. Mangalam Sambamoorthy, Temple President; Sivachariar Bhairavasundaram Muthubattar, Temple priest; and congregation member Muthu Meyyappan. (Photo courtesy: Bellingham Bulletin)

BELLINGHAM, MA– Boston Sri Kalikambal Shiva Temple, which has been operating out of a rented unit at 15 North Main Street in Bellingham, MA for the last couple of years, has acquired an approximately 17-acres site in Bellingham to build a Shiva temple.

Temple president Mangalam Sambamoorthy told INDIA New England News that the land clearing on the site is scheduled to start this year and the construction for the first phase of the temple will start in 2020.

“We have just started a fundraising campaign called Build the Temple in Bellingham,” said Ms. Sambamoorthy. “The temple will serve devotees from the Bellingham and neighboring towns in Massachusetts as well the Indian community in Rhode Island as we are located on Massachusetts-Rhode Island border.”

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, also has a Hindu temple in Warwick. In 2016, Rhode Island Hindu Temple Society Inc. purchased Jewish Temple Am David and converted it into a Hindu temple, known as Rhode Island Hindu Temple. It is located at 40 Gardiner Street in Warwick.

Ms. Sambamoorthy of Shiva temple said the goal is to integrate the next generation of Indian-Americans in Indian culture and educate and teach them yoga and mediation. Priest of the temple is Sivachariar Bhairavji, who previously served Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland, MA.

The town of Bellingham approved the plans of the temple last month. The 16.8-acre site is located at 866 Main Street, according to the town website. The developers have proposed construct 54,400 square feet of Hindu Temple and associated housing units and site improvements. The plan provides for 255 parking spaces.

According to official filings and news reports, however, the construction will be completed in two phases. When completed, it will have the sanctuary, community hall, classrooms, staff residences, etc., according to news reports. A stream passes through the temple complex and the temple aims to preserve the wetlands. In addition to various services offered by the current temple; the upcoming temple will also provide lessons about religion, various languages of India, music, and dance, etc.

“The project will take place in two phases,” Muthu Meyyappan, a member of the temple, recently told Bellingham Bulletin. “The first phase will be construction of the main temple, and the second phase will build residences for the priest and temple officials, as well as a hall for community gatherings.”

Bellingham Bulletin quoted Meyyappan as saying that “We are grateful to the town officials and the people of Bellingham who have supported us in the permitting process. This is a huge project for the temple, and we are grateful to the town. We worked with the town and the state to preserve the wetlands and the habitat, to preserve the ecosystem and the ambiance and positive energy surrounding the future temple, and to offer as little disturbance as possible. Six-plus acres of the site are wetlands, with a stream that runs through the property, and those six acres will be undisturbed. For any tree that must be removed during construction close to the wetlands, we will plant two more trees.”

Shiva Temple site map (Courtesy: Town of Bellingham website)

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