Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Bhakthi ~ Bhukthi (SV Temple and Temple Food)

Sri Venkateswara Temple, Pittsburgh and Swarna Ratham

Temple food is the best way to enjoy traditional Indian food and no restaurant can match the taste and the quality. In Pittsburgh, the SV Temple canteen is open during temple hours and has a small kitchen and big dining hall to the side. The food is freshly prepared daily by the temple chef. The standard items you would find are – pulihora, yogurt rice, sambar rice, upma, pongal, mixture: sweet&hot varieties and also pickles. There is also a machine, where you can make your own tea and coffee.

The canteen has a separate entrance and open to all. Everything is priced very reasonable ($1.50, a box). My favorites are pongal, upma and mixture and I always buy them whenever I visit temple. Because of recent increase in number of people visiting this temple, temple management is fund-raising to build a more modern and big kitchen and also planning to include more items to serve.

Summer is the travel season here in US and temples are the most common tourist destinations to lot of folks like us. Our visits to temple are not only for divine darshan and also for homely dining. So thought I would share about SV Temple food. Bhakthi and bukthi fulfilled at the same time.

Temple Canteen

Yogurt Rice, Pulihora, Upma, Mixture, Pickle, Pongal and Sambar Rice

Bhakthi & Bhukthi – For Summer Travel:
Do you have a temple in your town/city? Join and share “Bhakthi and Bukthi” (divine and dine), experience, if you are interested, at your blogs. Thanks!
Temple Food: Ganesha Temple, Flushing, NY

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bhakthi~Bhukthi,Zen (Personal) (Sunday July 2, 2006 at 4:24 pm- permalink)
Comments (33)

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33 comments for Bhakthi ~ Bhukthi (SV Temple and Temple Food) »

  1. I had the opprotunity to visit the other Temple near this one last Sunday. My boss held a program at the Their temple in Monorville and I helped serve the meal afterwards. I unfortunatley didn’t get to see the inside of the temple. The food was delicious and the people were all wonderful.

    Comment by Marie — July 2, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

  2. There are two temples near to this one. Jain temple with red stone and Shiridi temple. Which one did you visit, Marie?
    I am glad to hear that you had good time.

    Comment by Indira — July 2, 2006 @ 4:44 pm

  3. Hi Indira,

    Thanks for making me nostalgic about this temple, I went to this temple 3 years back in 03 when my mom visited me to US for my daughter birth. They really serve great food. Thanks for sharing the photos with us.

    Comment by Radha — July 2, 2006 @ 5:18 pm

  4. I am not sure what temple it was. I think it was on Elliott Rd. the temple itself was a pinkish color and had some blue draped along the top. The hall was in a seperate building down the hill a bit.

    Comment by Marie — July 2, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

  5. Bhakti + Bhukti will lead you undoubtedly to Mukti (detachment/deliverance), dont they?
    (And kind Indira is providing one of it on her blog ever so regularly, thank you)

    Ha, how I regret not taking a single photo of prasadam anytime. If it is temple food, Iam always ‘immersed’ to think of anything else. Iam already feeling weak!

    Comment by Vidyanath Tirumala Penugonda — July 2, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  6. I have had temple foods at India and in U.S. I can definitely say U.S temple food is the best vegan food I have had in U.S!They ooze Indianess.
    However, I was not a big fan of Indian temple food, maybe it is ‘cos back in India I didnt value our food so much?

    Loved this Bhakthi + Bhukthi series. Wish to see many more like this.

    Comment by L.G — July 2, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

  7. I always enjoy temple food when I go to temples in Houston and San Antonio. Very well written.

    Comment by krithika — July 2, 2006 @ 8:40 pm

  8. Indira,
    I too love the pongal at SV temple. But they usually run out of it early in the day – I guess it’s a favorite for many. Puliyodarai is my other favorite there. As I live in Pittsburgh (about 15 min from the temple), I get to enjoy the “bukthi” often.

    I’ve observed that you talk of Pittsburgh very fondly in your posts. Maybe you should start a “Pittsburgh and its foods” series – whatsay? 🙂

    Comment by Faffer — July 2, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  9. Hi Indira,

    The pictures are great, I always wanted to visit Pittsburgh SV Temple, I sure will.
    We stay in Houston and are new to this place, so not visited any temples yet, planning to visit soon for bhakti and bhukti:)


    Comment by Menaka — July 2, 2006 @ 11:10 pm

  10. Hi Indira,

    Thank you! Offerings of food for worship I can relate to — but I have wondered about temple food, having read so much about it on the various sites. This is very interesting to me, and I’ve bookmarked the SV Temple site for further reading. It seems visiting the temple feeds body and soul — no pun intended.

    All the best and thanks again for sharing this.

    Comment by Linda — July 2, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

  11. The Ventateshwara temple in Baltimore also has a very similar canteen. Thet do not have all the items every day.

    Comment by Rainee — July 3, 2006 @ 1:54 am

  12. Hmm..I have heard a lot about the Pittsburg temple and now I see it in your blog, Indira. Missed a chance or two to go to this temple but had a similar experience in the Bridgwater, NJ. Unfortunately have not been able to capture any pictures during my visits.

    Comment by Nav — July 3, 2006 @ 8:20 am

  13. I have been sampling your blog for so long without realizing that you are from Pittsburgh. I see, now that I’m looking for it, that you have mentioned it often. I don’t know how I missed it. I recognize the temple, of course.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog a lot, and am glad to find you are a neighbor.

    Comment by lindy — July 3, 2006 @ 8:21 am

  14. Indira,
    I am a great fan of your blog and the pics… I live only abut 15 minutes from S V Temple and we’ve gratefully partaken of their food on many occasions when we didn’t feel like or couldn’t cook at home. I have only one gripe about the otherwise delectable “temples and food” visits. I try to minimize use-and-throw products especially styrofoam that doesn’t biodegrade and is produced from fossil fuels. SV Temple alone probably sends a daily supply from several dozen to several hundred of these to the local landfill 🙁 If they would only switch to biodegradable packaging, and encourage visitors to bring their own take-away boxes I would probably visit twice as often as I do now! Though I live here I haven’t taken this up with the temple management. The main reason being, I have seen too often that the priority is always convenience and price rather than ecofriendliness. So we are still researching an option that would fit all three criteria. This is true not only of temples of course but many other institutions, but the friendly neighborhood SV temple is one that I visit often enough and hence the concern.

    Comment by Radhika — July 3, 2006 @ 8:41 am

  15. Talking about food & temples I am reminded how often I would visit temples just for their awesome puliodharai/pulihara (tarmarind rice) prasadam! Surely no moksha for me 🙂
    As an aside, I tried your banana cake recipe and was really tasty.

    Comment by Mayar — July 3, 2006 @ 10:34 am

  16. That’s a lot of food Indira.. Did you buy all that or is it for display in the temple?? With so much variety available at such a reasonable price why would anyone in pittsburg area want to cook at all?(in their home)
    Any special plans for long weekend Indira?? or is just cooking and more cooking ? Have a great 4th of july

    Comment by Eve — July 3, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  17. We live very close to the Malibu temple in Los Angeles..
    abt 4 miles away…
    They serve sambar rice, & yogurt rice too..
    Will get the pictures next time we go there..

    Hopefully I will get my camera fixed by then.

    Comment by santhi — July 3, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  18. Radha: You are welcome. They do serve good food, don’t they?

    Marie: Thanks.
    Pink colored, that must be Jain Temple. Temple insides are built with marble. This temple atmosphere is very cool and calming, conductive to meditation. We often visit this temple also.

    VTP: 🙂
    After 6 years of ‘immersion’, finally we stopped for a moment to take these pictures.:)

    LG: Except for Tirupati laddu and Srisailam prasadams, I didn’t care much either when I was in India. Perhaps surrounded by too much good food may be the reason?:)

    I have photos of Houston and SA temples, but never even thought of taking temple canteen food photos, when we lived there.:). Food blogging does change people.:)
    Thanks Krithika.

    Faffer: I know, pongal and upma usually disappear first, don’t they? I guess lot of folks like them very much, just like us.
    Tough to take pictures of food when you are in public.:) I don’t think I can do such series, but thanks for the suggestion.

    Menaka: We lived in Houston for about 3 years. We used to go to Meenakshi Temple at Pearland.

    Thanks Linda. People come from all different parts of the country to the temples. and these home-style temple canteens save us from hunger and also very budget friendly. Most of the work, like cutting vegetables and serving food is done by dedicated volunteers. and the money goes towards improving the temple and towards some good causes in India. Please do visit when you get a chance, Linda. I think you will enjoy the experience. Thanks.

    Rainee: There is a temple in Baltimore? See, I didn’t know that before.

    Nav: Perhaps during next visit?:)

    Lindy: I like Pittsburgh verymuch. I’ve checked your site after reading your comment, yay, you blog from Pittsburgh. Will definitely visit your site often. Thanks so much for your comment.

    Radhika: Thanks.
    Few years ago, in news letters and at temple events, the temple management requested patrons for ideas about this problem. I guess they didn’t find any cheap, alternative solution to this problem. I think they would change the package in a heartbeat if there is any ‘practicle’, viable solution.

    Mayar: .:)
    Thanks for letting me know about your try and I am glad to know that you liked it.

    Eve: Don’t you think it’s rude to comment on peoples portion sizes?

    Santhi: I’ve heard about this famous temple. WOuld love to see pictures. Thanks Santhi.

    Comment by Indira — July 3, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

  19. Hi Indira:
    Can you please tell me what days and times they serve food at this temple? When I’m out in that area, I usually head to Udipi, but if temple food is even better, I’d love to give it a try! Also, thank you for your wonderful blog; it’s been a fantastic resource!

    Comment by april — July 3, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  20. Indira- I loved your title Bhakti and Bhukti, I might use this phrase next time we visit the Bridgewater Venkateshwara temple in NJ. And they also have a canteen with delicious and traditional food.

    Comment by garammasala — July 4, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

  21. hai indira…
    i am a big fan of ur site…no wonder i check it everyday…i read ur article about the temple in pittsburg and the food there….as usual it is superb…ater reading that i thought of communicating people through your website about a very good temple in new jersey….there is a big ‘Ranganayakula swami’ temple in new jersy….i dont know the exact place but it comes on the way to ‘woodburry commons’mall it is a bit in the outskirts of jersey….it is very peaceful there…very beautiful place….the food there is fantastic…the cooks and the voluteers are the elderly people from india…the food there is free ( idont know properly coz 2 times when we went there it is free)….i am not that good at writting things in a good manner…but this is my attempt to tell people who are intrested about this one nice timple…..

    Comment by preethi — July 6, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

  22. We visit the Pittsburg temple every year mainly because we feel it is our Tirupathi in the U.S. However, we do visit the Balaji temple in Aurora, IL quite frequently. They have a beautiful kitchen and hall there at the Aurora temple. They also offer a wide variety of food there (even more variety than Pittsburg). The food is equally good at both the temples. I have to agree, temple food is the best. Thanks for sharing the pictures, Indira

    Comment by Padma — July 6, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

  23. Hi Indira,

    I read your post the other day but was pressed for time to comment on it.
    Such a beautiful post. I had the good fortune of visiting this temple a couple of years back. Delicious food!
    My favourite is the Venkateshwara temple in Aurora, Illinois (suburbs of chicago). Just like this temple, they serve awesome food.
    We have a lovely temple in Omaha. It is newly constructed and very beautiful. They had about 20 Shilpis from Southern India live here for 2 years to build the temple. We have a nic ebig kitchen too, however, we dont have enough funds and demand to warrant for a full time chef and temple food! Hoping that in the near future somethign will materialize. For now, it is upto us Bhakta’s to take some prasad to the temple for distribution as and when we want.
    I will try to get pictures of our lovely temple soon.

    Comment by Latha — July 7, 2006 @ 12:36 am

  24. hi indira,
    lovely post! and thank you for bringing back the memory of my speical diwali lunch at the ganesha temple in flushing.

    Comment by lulu — July 7, 2006 @ 2:25 am

  25. Hi April, thanks!
    I’ve provided a link under temple hours in the article. Please check it out for uptodate information on temple hours. Temple kitchen usually is open during temple hours.
    Udipi also serves great food, particularly dosas and idlies.

    Hi GM: We have been to Bridgewater temple several times, I agree they serve great food. I look forward to your post on this temple. Thanks.

    Hello Preeti: Thanks so much for your nice words and for your informative comment. I have never heard about this temple, but reading from your comment looks very peaceful. You seem to be very interested in this series. Why don’t you take some pictures of temple and food there. If you are intereted, send me the pictures and few words about this temple and it would be my pleasure to publish them on my blog. Thanks!

    Thanks Padma. Pittsburgh temple has it’s own charm, isn’t it?

    Hi Latha: thanks for taking time to write such an informative post. I heard about Omaha temple and would love to see the photos. Do send me a link when you post about it at your blog. Thanks Latha.

    Lulu, I remembered your post about Ganesha temple from last year. You have written it very well and the photos were fabulous. Thought readers interested in this series would like to check your informative post too. I am so glad that you kept your old blog around, I found the link easily from your archives.
    How about a post of temple food from London? Thanks!

    Comment by Indira — July 7, 2006 @ 10:13 pm

  26. Brings back memories for me. Nice post, Indira 🙂
    Their pongal is terrific! Sambhar rice is good too. and the sweet boondi, mmm!

    Comment by yum — July 8, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

  27. Hi

    your blog is just gr8…..the recipes are very delicious.
    I have been searching for a ‘IYENGAR PULIHORA’ recipe, the pic with the temple prasad is the just the one i am looking for. Is it possible for you to post the recipe for the same.
    As most of the recipes i tried is nowhere close to the authentic one made in Andhra or tamilnadu(dark colour)


    Comment by Geetha — August 9, 2006 @ 4:17 am

  28. Indira, I was wondering if you or anyone on here could give me the recipe for how to make hot mixture? Sweet too. Thanks!

    Comment by L.J. — January 12, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

  29. Every year my family visit the temple from Canada.
    It is very nice to relax and enjoy the delicious food at very low price.
    Surrounding are nice too.


    Comment by Kathir Krishna — March 18, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

  30. Does anyone know the timings the prasad is offered, in the mornings and evenings?
    Is it only for few hours or anytime during working hours.


    Comment by Balaji — June 24, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  31. We come from Toronto to Pittsburgh atleast once a year to visit the SVtemple. We loved the food so much. We see everybody not only eating there, but also take out with them. We also carried the food to eat on our long drive back. Thanks to Perumal and all the volunteers. Rama Rama Rama…… If the temple opens by 7AM at least it will be nice.

    Comment by Bala — December 20, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  32. There is this great Sri Venkateswara temple in Denver, CO, near Castle Rock which is beautiful. Website is

    Comment by Mala — November 7, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

  33. I bought a recipe book at the Pittsburgh temple about 20 years ago
    All the recipes are very authentic but my copy is now in rags and am looking to replace it
    Does anyone know if they are still selling them or where I can get a copy

    Comment by Veena — May 1, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

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