For 25 years the dream has been to build a new Temple to serve Tampa Bay's growing Hindu community. It is a pledge that Physician Pawan Rattan, made to his father many years ago.
Last weekend a prayer service and groundbreaking ceremony brought the dream to reality. Within the next 12 to 18 months, a 10,600-square-foot Temple will be built at 311 E. Palm Ave., within one-mile of downtown Tampa.
"It's a very significant event for us," says Rattan, who is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sanatan Mandir
. "It celebrates our culture, our heritage. It brings us together. At the same time it promotes mutual respect for others."
Unlike many Hindu temples that are ornate and built in marble, this Temple building will reflect the historical character of Tampa Heights as well as traditional Hindu temple architecture. The facade is of red brick. The roof will be topped with five sikharas, or rising towers.
"My hope is that this also triggers an uplifting of the area," says Physician and Philantropist Kiran Patel.
For more than two decades, a 4,000-square-foot building at the Palm Avenue site has served as the Hindu Temple, Sanatan Mandir. It was once the educational building for the Jewish congregaton of Rodeph Sholom, which relocated to South Tampa. According to Hillsborough County records, the Jewish congregation sold the Palm Avenue property to Rattan in 1988. It later was transferred by deed to Hindu Samaj, Inc.
Once the new Hindu temple opens, the building will become a community hall.
The Rodeph Sholom temple building, at 309 Palm Ave., was torn down years ago. Plans are to install a marble art piece at the new Hindu Temple to honor the Jewish heritage at the site.
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Physicians Pawan Rattan and Kiran Patel, Sanatan Mandir