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.
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