Hindus seek ‘Hindu Mandir’ at JFK Airport

Hindus are urging for a designated Hindu Prayer Room named as “Hindu Mandir” at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York, one of the world’s leading airports.

JFK Airport already has Our Lady of the Skies Roman Catholic Chapel, Christ for the World Protestant Chapel, International Synagogue and International Islamic Center on the Departure Level of its Terminal Four. JFK Airport is operated by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), which reports to New York and New Jersey governors.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that as lot of Hindu passengers daily used JFK Airport and many Hindu employees worked for various agencies and businesses there; it would be nice if they had a quiet facility at the airport where they could pray/meditate/worship and perform religious services.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged governors Andrew M. Cuomo (New York) and Chris Christie (New Jersey), PANYNJ Board Chairman John J. Degnan and Executive Director Patrick J. Foye to work in this direction as an issue of fairness and equality in customer service. He or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help, if asked, regarding the structure of “Hindu Mandir”.

Hindus would appreciate JFK Airport if this “Hindu Mandir” had murtis (statues) of popular deities, copies of sacred scriptures, a traditional bell and recorded devotional music; and daily kirtan and arti sessions were held in it, Rajan Zed noted.

Prayer/worship to God was highly important in Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, and it would be great to have “Hindu Mandir” at JFK Airport so that Hindu passengers and airport employees did not miss their daily worship rituals/rites while travelling through or working at JFK Airport; which might include recitation of texts, repetition of mantras and dhayan (meditation), Zed added.

At the JFK Airport, Catholic Chapel, founded 1955, offers mass, communion, confessions, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, memorials, retirement service, anniversaries, retreats, counseling, Bible study, stress management, etc. Protestant Chapel, which began 1964, offers prayer, meditation, religious conferences, weddings, worship, counseling, Bible study, etc. Synagogue, which opened in 1967, offers shacharit, mincha, and maariv services; minyan; holiday celebrations; library of Judaica; etc. Mosque, whose history goes back to 2001, offers various prayer services, etc.

Over 50 million passengers and over one million tons of cargo reportedly annually pass through this airport on Jamaica Bay in New York City and over 80 airlines operate from its gates, where commercial flights began in July 1948.

There are about one billion Hindus in the world and three million Hindus in USA.

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