A Site to Connect New Hindus to a Community

Over on Facebook, Lorrie made a comment that got the gears in my head turning. (My husband will tell you I’m always plotting and planning something. I get an idea and then I jump in with both feet!). Anyway, Lorrie said that she has yet to find a home temple and a “temple buddy.” The experience has been so wonderful for me that I started wondering if I could somehow connect new Hindus with temple buddies.

So I don’t know if this will work but I’d like to try it. I’d like to put together a site that’s basically like a dating site but it would connect people who have converted to Hinduism or are thinking about it with a native Hindu nearby who could take them to the temple and help them learn.

The page is live at www.templebuddy.com

Please, if you are a native Hindu outside India, sign up! For this to work I will need a huge group of native Hindu guides in diverse parts of the western world. Sign up and tell your friends, spread the word as much as you can!

I’m thinking there will be a questionnaire that new Hindus can answer things about how long they’ve been practicing, what they most want help with, and stuff like that. There will be lots of guidance for both sides. Someone wrote to me and asked about finding a place to connect online with other non-Indian Hindus so I’m thinking that a forum area would also be good to have.

It’s intimidating to get started as a new Hindu with going to a temple and participating in community. I would love to find a way to make that easier, particularly knowing how amazing I feel now that I’ve got that community!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • https://www.crowdrise.com/buzzoff2015/ Salticid

    Aamba, what a great idea!
    I would love to join, but will be on the convert side. I’ve been looking for something like a Temple Buddy since I started going, and it’s so important to go.

    You could post about the site on other Hindu forums… for instance Hindu Dharma forums would be a great place to post and get people from both walks, they are one of the most convert friendly forums I found. Some of the converts there have been practicing so long they are like natives in their local temples and could be good buddies too.

    • Ambaa

      Good idea! I will try posting there

  • JRajBali

    Great idea! I signed up already!

  • Mike Malzahn

    hey aamba, i remember when you said hindus buy new saris for all the different festivals. i thought then about a sari exchange website. that women just really wanted something different to wear for the festival but that saris where expensive. anyway, i didn’t pursue it because i didn’t see a market or how to monetize it. if you charge to use the site, that with shipping … anyway, maybe you could try it if you get your site up and going, especially on a local level. plus a ‘sari swap’ day could be a way to meet new people. of course i imagine women rotating them at the same temple might not create the new looks you are going for.

    anyway, good to see you are still around.

    eggshells mike 😉

    • Ambaa

      That’s a really interesting idea!

      Yeah, sorry I’ve been inconsistent. I’m clawing my way back! :)

  • Hidimbi

    Ambaa this is truly a wonderful idea. Are you familiar with Reddit? PLEASE advertise this on r/Hinduism. There is a diverse and open minded Hindu community there, your new service is bound to gain some traction.

    • Ambaa Choate

      Oh that’s a great idea of a place to advertise! I will do that!

    • Ambaa

      Good thinking! DONE!

  • Catherine Viau

    Hi Aamba,

    Namaste! I really admire you and your blog has been a tremendous help to me on my own personal, long journey to Hinduism. So I want to thank you for all the hard work you put into this blog as I think it helps more people than you think!

    I love this idea of the “temple buddy,” and I just signed up as the new hindu. Even though I have been involved in ISKCON for 2 or 3 years, my beliefs within Sanatana Dharma are changing and evolving where I no longer want to be a Vaisnava–I’ve started to worship the Divine Mother and practice Shaktism. So in general I am familiar with the average temple environment (what to expect, what to wear, etc.)

    Anyway, my point is that I am now at a point where I want to explore more temples and eventually go once every week or two. There is one near me that I drive by pretty often but for some reason I’m really scared to go in. I don’t know if it’s the stares I’m going to get, or just the general “what’s a westerner doing in here?” attitude I’ll probably receive (that I didn’t receive in the ISKCON temples). Do you think it’s best to go during a festival? Or a quiet time or a regular arati during the week that is low key? Or should I just get over myself and pop in?

    I’d love to download your book but don’t have the kindle, so I was also wondering if you had plans to release it in the iBooks format or something similar?

    Again I really look up to you and appreciate all your work to help the world better understand Hinduism and to help new “converts” adjust to their new faith. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Catherine

    • Ambaa

      Thank you so much! It’s great to hear that I’m really reaching someone :) If there’s a temple you are particularly interested in, let me know. I’m going to try to reach out directly to temples to try to find temple buddies (even though I’m a nervous wreck when it comes to talking on the phone!) I do usually suggest going during a festival to start with. New people are more expected at that time, I think. And you get the nice feeling of blending into the crowd a bit. .Even though I get stares and questions, I have found universally that Indian Hindus at the temple are happy to have me there, respect my sincerity, and enjoy sharing their knowledge

      • Catherine Viau

        Sounds good, since Shivaratri is coming up I think I’ll stop by the temple then. Thank you for your advice! The temple is called Sri Rajaganapathi temple and it’s pretty accessible from Philadelphia, so I think a lot of people go there. This is probably a huge generalization but I live in an area where there’s a lot of Indian immigrants (been here for 15 years, I know this just from going to school with a lot of second generation people whose parents were from India and practice Hinduism) so I get the feeling it’s a pretty popular temple.

  • buddhiarts

    This is a really excellent idea, Aamba. Not only can born Hindus help new arrivals understand the temple, but the tremendous wealth of Hindu culture can be shared.