Sunday May 27, 2018

Essence of Hinduism: 10 most famous Hindu temples outside India

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Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia
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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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  • Atul Sharma

    Amazing.

  • mehathi

    Nice information. Thank you. I would like to share a website called http://www.templedetails.com which has some more information about the famous temples which has to be shared.

Next Story

More than 200 Commonwealth Games Athletes Seek Asylum in Australia and 50 Go Missing

More than 200 Commonwealth Games athletes and officials remain in Australia after applying for refugee visas, with another 50 staying in the country illegally.

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More than 200 Commonwealth Games athletes and officials remain in Australia after applying for refugee visas, with another 50 staying in the country illegally.

The figures were revealed by Immigration Department officials to a Senate committee hearing on Monday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

A total of 8,103 athletes, media representatives and officials arrived in Australia on temporary visas for the Gold Coast event which concluded on April 15, with 7,848 returning home after their stay expired last week, meaning 255 stayed in the country.

Of those who have remained in Australia, 205 were legally in the community on bridging visas as they await approval to stay on a permanent basis. Border Force officials have commenced a nationwide search for the other 50 who have overstayed their visas.

The majority of foreigners seeking asylum in Australia were from war-torn African nations such as Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria. However some members of the Indian and Pakistani teams have also remained in Australia.

Swimmers. Pixabay

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs deputy secretary, Malisa Golightly, told parliament on Monday night that most of the remaining participants “have applied for protection visas”.

“Anybody that is onshore can apply for protection legally once they are here, but of course then they are considered against … the criteria for that visa,” she said.

The temporary protection visas allow the Commonwealth Games participants to stay in Australia for up to three years and receive welfare benefits.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, said he was disappointed with the number of people who have stayed illegally as they had been welcomed to Australia “in good faith”.

“Australians hate being taken for a ride by freeloaders,” Dutton told Newscorp Australia on Monday night.

Also Read:Indians Among Top Asylum Seekers in the World: International Migration Outlook 2017 Report

“Australia is now obliged under international law to consider these protection visa applications.”

In comparison, only 45 people extended their visas or sought asylum in Australia after the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

–IANS