Gangadhar and Saroj SharmaGangadhar Sharma and Saroj Sharma came to Raleigh in 1972.  They founded Hindu Society of North Carolina in 1976.   That put a foundation for a vibrant Indian community in Triangle area.  The HSNC now has 1,100 members, 15 acres of land and 2 full time priests.  It was my pleasure to meet them and discuss with them about HSNC and their involvement with Indian community.


Satish: Please tell me about what made you to come to Triangle?

Mr. Sharma: In 1960, I came to Canada for research at McGill University in Montreal.  I completed my MS and PhD in Biology.   I came to Raleigh in 1972 with wife Saroj Sharma and 5 children.  I joined state government in 1974 and I am with them ever since.  I currently teach blind students in department of human resources.


Mr and Mrs Sharma

Satish: Tell me about what inspired you to form HSNC?

Mrs. Sharma: We started Satya Narayana Katha at our home in Raleigh.   We invited friends and family.  It became a monthly event.  It grew big and we shifted to rental facilities.  In September, 1976, we formed the Hindu Society with $2 as membership fees.   The society bought a church in 1980 since it was difficult to rent facilities.  We purchased 7 acres of land for $70,000 in 1984.  The church was sold in 1985.  The hall was built in 2000 to encourage the cultural activities.  I and my husband (Sharmaji) performed daily pooja from 2000 to 2003.  We wanted to save money for buildings instead of hiring a priest and paying them.

Jungle mae mangal – Many people questioned why the land was bought in a jungle?  They felt that wearing expensive jewelry and visiting temple may not be safe.  Temple was the second largest building in the area.  I persisted and had a vision that a vibrant Indian community will be formed if there is a template and a place for a community gathering.  I told people that Jangle mae mangal karenge.  [The Cary News in its July, 2008 article said ‘Mrs. Saroj Sharma had a vision that Indian community will grow’]

Kids who are born in US ask ‘who is Krishna?’, ‘who is Hanumaan?’  We should help them learn our culture.  We want them to feel that they belong to a great religion and a vibrant community.  We want temple to be a place to worship and meet friends.   God is the true friend and we pray when we feel happy and we pray we feel sorrow.


Satish: Why was it called Hindu Society?

Mr. Sharma: We had a unique concept of having all gods under one roof.    ‘God is one’.  Every god says ‘Do good, be good and help the needy’.  These are basic rules for a fulfilling life.  We had a very democratic way of choosing the idols and their position.  Radha Krishna had the most number of votes and we put Radha Krishna idol in the center.


Satish: What was involved in building Hindu Society?

Mrs. Sharma: Government was very co-operative.  We requested the land and mentioned that it is to teach culture and religion.  We were the only Hindu organization in triangle and it was easier. 


Satish: What would you like to do more for HSNC?

Mrs. Sharma: I would like to grow the organization further.  Build more class rooms for both religious and cultural purpose.  Extend temple hours and have 2 more priests.   Help people to feel homely and build a supporting system for the community. 


Satish: What should new comers to Triangle area should do?

Mr. & Mrs. Sharma: Visit the temple, become a member of HSNC and volunteer for the community events.   Enroll their children for the classes.


Satish: How can they become the members?

Mr. & Mrs. Sharma:  Obtain a form from the priest, fill it and put it in the membership box in temple.  The annual membership is $60 for family.   You can get life membership for $500.  If you need more information, please contact Mr. Sharma or Mrs. Sharma at 919.460.7830 or visit


Mr. and Mrs. Sharma live in Morrisville.  They have 5 children, 10 grand children and one great grandchild.   Their son Alok Sharma lives in Cary with wife and 2 kids.   Others live in various places in US.  During the discussion, I was served with hot cup of Chai, Kachori and Gajar ka halva.  I was impressed by their humble nature.

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