Plans for Hindu Cultural Center in East Windsor Stir Debate

August 13, 2006

Source: The Times of Trenton

On August 13, 2006 The Times of Trenton reported, "To some, the $142 million center proposed for a chunk of land near the New Jersey Turnpike would be a boon for the region, a place where devotees of a Hindu sect and the area's burgeoning Indian population could revel in their culture. To others, though, the center represents intense development that would generate too much traffic. Plans by a nonprofit Indian organization to build the cultural and religious center on 152 acres near Turnpike Interchange 8 and Route 33 have spawned an intense debate about the size of the project and how it has been handled by East Windsor officials. Residents are questioning whether Mayor Janice Mironov has been secretly negotiating with the religious organization, a suggestion she denies. Meanwhile, the president of a huge homeowners association in East Windsor is leading calls for a reduction in scope of the project. These stumbling blocks are nothing new to BAPS, the Hindu sect that proposed the complex in what is now an industrial-farm zone... BAPS's preliminary plans call for the construction of 17 buildings and a monument on 20 acres, leaving the rest of the property untouched and preserving wetlands. The complex would be fashioned in a style of Indian architecture that features intricate stonework and tall buildings with porticos and domes with pointed tips. Plans include a 71-foot-tall house of worship, an assembly hall, a yoga and meditation center, a visitors center, a lavish garden, food court, restaurant, library, research centers and a 120-foot-tall monument. Some residents are opposed to the proposed height of the house of worship and the monument."