Tours offer a glimpse of different religions

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 11, 2015

 Ramachandra Bhjat, senior priest at the Bharatiya Temple, reflects at the temple’s Lakshmi Narayana altar.

Ramachandra Bhjat, senior priest at the Bharatiya Temple, reflects at the temple’s Lakshmi Narayana altar.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Unique architecture and the tenets of different religions will be on display during the Places of Worship Tours offered through the Troy Historic Village.

“We’ve done something similar years ago,” said Stephanie Suszek, adult programs and services director for the Troy Historic Village.

Each month through August, a different place of worship will offer a guided tour. The first tour of the program is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. March 18 at the Bharatiya Temple, 6850 N. Adams Road.

In 2013, the Bharatiya Temple completed a seven-year, $16 million expansion, bringing the facility to more than 60,000 square feet, which includes three 60-foot towers. The place of worship now accommodates 600 people and features gathering space throughout the facility for community meetings and special events. Use of hand-carved marble throughout the temple aims to represent purity, beauty and strength of character.

A guide on the tour will talk about the basic tenets of Hinduism, which predate recorded history and vary among practicing individuals. People will learn the story of the temple, which broke ground in Troy 35 years ago. 

Suszek said the Places of Worship Tours program is part of the 60th birthday celebration of Troy, and it’s a way to “learn about groups you may not know much about. It’s a really good way to teach about the ‘multiculture’ here in Troy.”

“Troy went from a very small Protestant community to dozens of different faith groups living in the community,” said Judy Iceman, president of the Troy Historical Society, which took over the management and operation of the Troy Historic Village in 2011. “The program is a wonderful way to explore cultural traditions of other ethnicities in the community.”

The tours continue at St. Mark Coptic Church May 20, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church June 17, St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church July 15 and Congregation Shir Tikvah Aug. 19.

The cost per tour is $5 for members of the Troy Historical Society and $7 for nonmembers.

Registration in advance is required. Call (248) 524-3570.