Essence of Hinduism: 10 most famous Hindu temples outside India

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Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia

Angkor

By Sohini Biswas

With billions of followers, Hinduism is not only restricted to India but is embraced by the world. Considered as one of the oldest paths toward meaningful living, its essence could be felt in its great history.

One way to feel the real meaning of this global religion is to reflect upon the beautiful temples which have been built across the world. Hindu temples are very scientific buildings which have been built based on the study of Agam Shastra which has three main divisions called the Shaiva, the Shaktha, and the Vaishnava.

Across the world places like Angkor Wat, Batu caves have enthralled the mystics and seekers alike.  Here are a few more temples spread across the globe that hold special place in Hindu culture.

  1. Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia 

Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed and is a part of UNESCO world heritage centre now. First a Hindu, later transformed to a Buddhist, temple complex in Cambodia, was built by Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a replica of Angkor Thom art style.

It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple and oriented to west to conform the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from left to right in the order of Hindu funereal ritual, support this function.  Buong Suong Tiyaie is a ritual followed here and is performed by five virginal dancers from the Nginn Karet Foundation.

  1. Prambanan, Central Java, Indonesia 

Narrating stories of Vishnu’s incarnations, adventures of Hanuman the Monkey King, the Ramayana epic and other legends, with exquisite bas relief carvings this Hindu temple Prambanan in Yogyakarta is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

This temple was built in 850 CE, has 8 main shrines which are surrounded by 250 smaller ones. The inner square contains 16 temples dedicated to major Hindu deities, of which Shiva temple is the largest. Bhuta Yajna Ritual, is performed here a day before Nyepi, (New Years Day)

  1. Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam (Batu Caves, Malaysia)

Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves situated at a distance of 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, in Gombak district. Outside India it is one of the most popular and tallest shrines of Lord Murugan, standing at 42.7 meters. In 1890, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader installed the Murugan statue and promoted the caves as a place of worship.

Yearly Hindu festival  Thaipusm in Malaysia is celebrated in this temple complex. Thaipusam attracts a large number of pilgrims from Malaysia as well as from India, Australia and Singapore.

Lord_Muruga_Batu_Caves
Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam (Batu Caves, Malaysia)

 

  1. Katasraj Temple in Chakwal, Pakistan

In existence since the days of Mahabharata, the Katasraj temple is located  in the Chakwal district of Punjab near Lahore in Pakistan. The Pandavas are said to have taken refuge here during their days of exile. Legend has it that when Lord Shiva’s wife, Sati, died. He cried so much that two pools were created. One is located in Pushkar in India and the other was formed here.

The temple here is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Pakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for World Heritage Site status.

Katasraj Temple in Chakwal, Pakistan
Katasraj Temple in Chakwal, Pakistan
  1. Munneswaram Temple, Sri Lanka

This temple is dates back to the time of Ramayana. It is believed that here Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva and won the battle against Ravana. It is a temple complex comprising of five temples.  This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva.

This temple has been destroyed twice in the past by the Portuguese before it was finally handed over to the Jesuits who rebuilt it. This temple celebrates Shivratri and Navratri with a lot of grandeur.

  1. Shiva Vishnu Temple in Livermore, California

One of the biggest in the bay area, this temple incorporates the best of both North and South Indian Hindu temples, with respect to its architecture. In 1985 Tamil Nadu government donated most of the deities here. The temple has deities of innumerable Gods and Goddesses –Shiva, Ganesha, Durga, Aiyappa, Lakshmi etc. The famous Hindu festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga puja is celebrated here

There are other temples of Shiva Vishnu in Denver, Colorado, Washington D.C.  and South Florida.

  1. Shiva Vishnu Temple in Melbourne, Australia

Fourteen acres of land, worth $72,300 was purchased in Carrum Downs to build a Shiva temple at Melbourne in Australia . The first puja here was performed in early 1986 following which the construction of the two primary shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu began in 1987.

Since then, after years of planning by the Hindu Society of Victoria and the hard work of a team of skilled craftsmen from India, the Shiva Vishnu Temple at Carrum Downs was opened to devotees in 1994.  This temple’s architecture is the combination of Hindu and Australian traditions.

Thirty two deities are worshipped based on elaborate rituals and Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali is also celebrated.

  1. Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple (Tividale, England)

Designed to replicate the Tirupati Thirumala Temple in Tirupati, India, Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple was opened in August 23, 2006. . It was the first temple of Lord Venkateswara in Europe. The main shrine houses 12ft statue of Lord Venkateswara, incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

  1. Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia

Pura Tanah Lot, is a pilgrimage temple off the Indonesia island of Bali. The temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. Purnama Kesanga, or full moon in Bali is always a special day for ceremonies and festivities which are celebrated in this temple.

The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples was established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. In addition to Balinese mythology, the temple was significantly influenced by Hinduism.

 Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia

Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia
  1. Pashupatinath Temple (Kathmandu, Nepal)

Pashupathinath Temple is one the most important temples of Lord Shiva in the world. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It was constructed in 753AD by Jayadeva, but it was reconstructed in 12th century and 17th century due to extensive damages caused by termites. The temple has unique architecture, different from traditional Hindu temples of India.

It has a Nepalese Pagoda style of architecture. Only followers of Hinduism can enter the main temple, but all the other buildings are available for foreigners to visit. It is also very common to meet sadhus in Pahsupathinath. This temple is also on UNESCO world heritage site.

 

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COVID-19: Australia Suspends 2032 Olympic Bid

The government seems to be focused on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

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Australia has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently. Pixabay

Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

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The decision was taken as the state is currently focusing on the economic recovery. Pixabay

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He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.” (IANS)

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Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death In Australia, heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

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Climate change an official cause of death in Australia study suggests. Pixabay

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.  “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

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Excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Pixabay

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke,” Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia. According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country’s death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

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“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” she said. (IANS)

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These Picturesque Australian Pools Can Now Be Visited Virtually

Don't let lockdown stop you, visit these wonderful Australian pools virtually

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Australian pools
The Australian ocean pools or ocean baths allow one to experience the public seawater in a pool built out into the ocean . Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Dotting the beautiful Australian coastline, ocean pools or ocean baths allow one to experience the public seawater in a pool built out into the ocean or carved directly into the coastal rock. Often thought of as a mini-ocean within an ocean, these pools capture marine landscapic beauty at its best.

Ocean pools are quintessentially New South Wales (NSW), with just a handful found outside the State’s borders. There are about 100 along the NSW coast, from Yamba in the north to Bermagui in the south, with 35 in Sydney alone.

Ocean pools took off in the late 19th century. Competitive swimming was becoming popular and people wanted a place where they would be protected from the pounding surf and unpredictable currents. Many ocean pools were built by surf clubs or community groups and still hold a special place in the hearts of locals.

North Coast

Yamba Rock Pool on the State’s far North Coast is built into the rocks at the sheltered southern end of the beach, near one of NSW’s oldest surf lifesaving clubs. Forster Ocean Baths opened in 1936 with a popular dance hall attached. They are now known colloquially as ethe Bullring’ after a cafe that operated next to the pool in the 1970s.

Newcastle

Newcastle is home to the oldest ocean pool on the east coast of Australia, the Bogey Hole, which was hand carved by convicts in 1819. It also boasts the largest ocean pool in the southern hemisphere, the Merewether Baths. People come to swim laps, enjoy the beach or chat on the steps leading into the water, dubbed the Steps of Knowledge by locals.

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Ocean pools built by surf clubs or community groups and still hold a special place in the hearts of locals. Pixabay

Nearby, the Newcastle Ocean Baths are surrounded by a beautiful, heritage-listed art deco pavilion. The baths feature two ocean pools; the main rectangular pool has a separate area for lap swimming and the round shallow Canoe Pool is popular with families.

Central Coast

On the Central Coast, the Entrance Ocean Baths is a heritage-listed complex of three ocean pools. A children’s pool, 22m pool and full-length Olympic-size pool make these baths ideal for swimmers of all levels. You can also find smaller ocean pools at Pearl Beach and MacMasters Beach.

Illawarra and Wollongong

The Illawarra region, just south of Sydney, has a dozen rock pools, including Towradgi, Coledale, Austinmer and Bulli. One of the prettiest is at Coalcliff Beach, set against dramatic cliffs and the escarpment. Local legend has it that miners blasted the rock themselves using dynamite they snuck out of the mines in their pockets.

The Port Kembla Olympic Pool and the Continental Pool at North Wollongong are ocean-fed Olympic pools with facilities like changing rooms and showers. Both date back to the 1920s and 1930s, and are popular with lap swimmers and families.

Australian pools
These pools capture marine landscapic beauty at its best. Pixabay

South Coast

Further south at Kiama, one can find two pools. The Blow Hole Point Rock Pool offers a safe swimming spot close to the area’s famous Blow Hole. Popular since the 1880s, it was cut into the surrounding rocks, giving it an irregular shape and natural charm. The Continental Rock Pool is 50m long and a smooth rectangle, perfect for lap swimming.

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The southernmost pool in the State is the Blue Pool in Bermagui, named for the way it reflects a blue sky. A carved pool set into the rock face and continually washed with clean, clear ocean water, it’s home to thriving marine life, with fish, crabs and nudibranchs (marine snails) all coexisting happily with swimmers and snorkelers. (IANS)