Statues of Lord Ganesha, left, and Shirdi Sai Baba are...

Statues of Lord Ganesha, left, and Shirdi Sai Baba are seen at Broome Street Ganesha Temple in the Manhattan borough of New York on Sept. 14, 2023. Founded by yoga teacher Eddie Stern in 2001, the temple pitches itself not strictly as a Hindu house of worship but as a sanctuary where passersby can find a few minutes of peace amid the chaos of New York. Credit: AP

On Broome Street, in the heart of Manhattan’s fashionable Soho neighborhood, a Hindu temple dedicated to the elephant-headed deity Ganesha is striving to develop its own sense of cool. Its location allows it to draw guest teachers such as prominent spiritual author Deepak Chopra, and devotees — or at least influential fans — such as the actor Willem Dafoe, who was recently spotted wearing a Broome Street Ganesha T-shirt.

“Here, it’s cool to come to the temple,” said Shruti Bramadesam, the temple’s assistant director. “It’s cool to be spiritual. It’s cool to meditate. It’s not something we had to have been made fun of for growing up.”

This week, the 20-year-old temple is celebrating Lord Ganesha in a distinctly New York way, ending its celebration of its deity’s birthday, the 10-day holiday Ganesh Chaturthi, with a visarjan — a ritual that sends Ganesha home by immersing his clay idol into a body of water — in the Hudson River.


This content is written and produced by Religion News Service and distributed by The Associated Press. RNS and AP partner on some religion news content. RNS is solely responsible for this story.


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