Religion column

Hindu Temple of Florida welcomes all peace seekers in Tampa

Situated among North Tampa homes and businesses, the Hindu Temple of Florida stands out as an architectural achievement.

The temple, built in 1996, stands about 60 feet tall and has traditional Hindu features, including a pyramid structure, an ornate entrance tower and grand exterior staircase.

Members meet here to worship, study scripture and celebrate life's occasions.

"Hinduism is a nonregimented faith," said Nainan Desai, temple trustee and immediate past president. "It is very tolerant of devotees to worship God in any faith and form, in any spiritual way, any time or any day they wish. There are no mandatory prescribed times or days for prayers, or required donations from the faithful."

The temple offers religious services, or pooja, led by one of four trained priests. The priests speak primarily in Sanskrit, the language of the Agama Shastra, or the Hindu original scriptures. They also perform traditional ceremonies such as wedding and birthdays.

On Sundays, the temple offers classes for all ages ranging from Hindu education to science, art and SAT prep courses. It is also open to the public daily for mediation and prayer.

Once a year, the temple hosts a health fair, where free medical services are provided to the community.

"Whether you are a believer in Hinduism or not, everyone is welcome here," said Vijay Wadehra, temple manager. "A lot of people come because it is very peaceful."

In 2013, the temple opened a new Prasad Sadan facility, where religious cooks prepare foods and members gather to eat.

An expansion adding a new idol and meditation area is under way. The new area will open near the end of 2014.

The temple provides the community with a place to worship, socialize and share knowledge, Desai said.

The Hindu Temple of Florida is at 5509 Lynn Road. For information, call (813) 962-6890 or visit htflt.org.

Calendar

Bell Shoals Baptist Church, 2102 Bell Shoals Road, will host Not on My Watch, an event presented by the Rachel Project against human trafficking, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The event is free, but an RSVP is requested. For information, call (813) 689-4229 or visit bellshoals.com.

Brandon Christian Women's Connection will host a luncheon fashion show featuring vintage wedding dresses from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10 at the Bell Shoals Special Events Center, 2102 Bell Shoals Road, Brandon. Cost to attend is $14, or $9 for first-time guests. No membership is required, but reservations are requested by next Monday. For information, call Lillie at (813) 740-0098.

Congregation Beth Shalom, 706 Bryan Road, Brandon, will present physicist and author Clifford Will, who will talk about big-bang cosmology and creation theories at 1 p.m. March 23. The event is free and open to the public. For information, call (813) 681-6547.

Hindu Temple of Florida welcomes all peace seekers in Tampa 02/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 2:07pm]

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