Sacred space in a New Yorker Sikh’s home


Photo: James Estrin / NYT

By Asia Samachar | United States |

A Sikh in New York has a prayer room in the attic The New York Times has captured a slice of the space for its readers.

“I wish I could wake up in the mountains every morning but instead I live in Richmond Hill,” Nirmal, an engineer and writer who lives in Queens, tells the newspaper. “I designed this space upstairs where I pray, sing and study with my family and thank God for everything I have in my life.”

He was one of the persons featured in a report entitled ‘A Moment of Intimacy’: New Yorkers and the Sacred Spaces in Their Homes. See here.

The man behind the story and photos is James Estrin, a staff photographer who also writes frequently for NYT who captured the photos of the homes of varius faiths, was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team in 2001 for “How Race Is Lived in America.”

They are among hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from a myriad of faith traditions who set aside a part of their home as a sacred space to practice their religion, meditate or simply offer thanks for a new day, according to the article.

“New York most likely has more religions than any other city in the world,” said Tony Carnes, the founder of A Journey Through NYC Religions, a nonprofit that is mapping houses of worship and religious sites in the city. His organization has identified 39 different categories of religions in New York, but within those, there are at least 435 variations, many of which can be considered separate religions, he said.

Nirmal Singh designed his home in Queens with a space in the attic for his family to study, sing and pray – with the center of the room is the Adi Granth.

Every morning before dawn, Nirmal reads out loud and his wife, Rajinder Kaur Bhamra, and daughter, Taranjit, play musical instruments as they all sing prayers. Afterward his daughter walks to the public pre-K center in Ozone Park where she teaches.

“It becomes so embedded into your daily lifestyle you cannot live a day without doing it,” Taranjit is quoted in the report. “If I feel very anxious or I have an important task ahead, there’s a place I can go to feel one with God and to learn about some of the scriptures.”

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond.Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here