The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

ISKCON's New Jersey Temple Plans For Visitors

By: for The Star-Ledger (USA) on July 25, 2009

PARSIPPANY--A new Hare Krishna temple would include a gift shop and bedrooms for pilgrims visiting the religious movement's only northern New Jersey temple, according to a member of the congregation.


But that likely wouldn't contribute to a spike in traffic in the Troy Road neighborhood the Radha-Krishna Temple is eyeing for relocation, worshipper Mehul Barot told the township zoning board Wednesday night.



A sketch of the proposed Parsippany temple.


Traffic worries have been the chief concerns voiced about the temple's proposed move from its current location, a nearly century-old home in Montville, to a new building in Parsippany.


Last year, the congregation purchased nearly three acres on Baldwin and Troy roads, a tract wedged between office buildings and a residential neighborhood. The project's sticking point has been the commercial zoning of the land, which does not allow places of worship.


At the end of Wednesday night, the zoning board said it would resume the hearing, which has lasted since April, next month.


The proposal faces opposition from at least several of the temple's would-be neighbors, who say Troy Road is too slim to handle the traffic brought by the new building.


Temple officials say the impact won't be significant. The temple serves about 120 worshippers from New Jersey and parts of New York.


Members of the Hare Krishna movement, or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, are part of a Hindu sect that follows the Bhagavad-gita.


They plan to expand their temple's presence as a cultural center. It has room for up to six pilgrims who come from across the world to stay for several days.


The temple's priests and their families, numbering about 14 people, could also live there, Barot said.


Worship-related material -- such as prayer beads, devotional clothing and books -- will be available for sale at an on-site gift shop.


The shop will only be open on Sundays, and annual sales at the existing temple normally don't top $20, Barot said yesterday.


But Barot didn't deny that the temple, at least in its early life, could be a magnet for those curious about the ornate building. With its spires and domes, the building is in stark contrast to the typical Hare Krishna temples found in converted homes and warehouses, he said.


"Given the nature of the temple, it could attract a little more than it does now," he said. "But once it's established, there's not going to be throngs of people. After a few weeks the novelty will wear out."


On Aug. 5, when the hearing is continued, more details could be provided about the traffic impact. Barot said a traffic engineer and a planner still have to testify for the proposal.


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