Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world with various cultures and traditions. But do we know about some very gorgeous and well-crafted temples outside India? Let’s take a look at some.
1. Pashupatinath, Nepal
- Address: Gaushala Road, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
- Temple: 4380 B.C
Pashupatinath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is located in Kathmandu, Nepal. This temple was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1979. Every year this temple attracts hundreds of elderly followers of Hinduism. They arrive here to find shelter for the last several weeks of their lives, to meet death, be cremated on the banks of the river and travel their last journey with the waters of the sacred river Bagmati, which later meets the holy river Ganges. Hinduists from every corner of Nepal and India are arriving here to die.
The main temple of Pashupatinath is a building with a bunk roof and a golden spire. It is located on the Western bank of Bagmati and is considered a masterpiece of Hindu architecture. It is a cubic construction with four main doors, all covered with silver sheets. The two-storied roof is made from copper and is covered with gold. This richly decorated temple with wooden sculptures is believed to make wishes come true. One of the most astonishing decorations of the temple is the huge golden statue of Nandi – Shiva’s bull. Only followers of Hinduism can enter the main temple, but all the other buildings are available for foreigners to visit. From the Eastern bank of the river the main temple can be seen in its whole beauty. The western bank of Bagmati also hosts the so called Panch Deval (Five temples) complex, which once was a holy shrine but now serves a shelter for destitute old people.
2. Prambanan Temple, Indonesia
- Address: Jl. Raya Solo – Yogyakarta No.16, Kranggan, Bokoharjo, Kec. Prambanan, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55571, Indonesia
Height: 47 m
Opened: 856 AD
3. Sri Durga Temple, Australia
- Address: 705-715 Neale Rd, Deanside VIC 3336, Australia
Sri Durga temple is Australia’s biggest Durga Mata temple situated in lush green surroundings and is 30 minutes drive from city centre. It is a friendly place for religious and social meets. The temple is run by the Shri Durgadevi Devasthanam, a non-profit religious organisation. The temple is dedicated to the goddessesdurga, Lakshmi and Saraswathy who are its three main deities and the temple celebrated its firstMaha Kumbabhishekam on 7 May 2017. When the temple first started, they performed Pooja in Homebush High School on a weekly basis, every Friday. The Sri Durgadevi Devasthanam Sydney Inc, was registered as a Charity Organisation.
The temple complex consists of 3 levels: the basement level consists of the wedding hall & educational hall, the ground level consists of the entrance and the main carpark, and the final level consists of the main temple sitting above the carpark. The completed temple celebrated its first Maha Kumbabishekam (Consecration Ceremony) on 7 May 2017 and it marked the first day the new temple complex was opened to the public as a place of worship. The Sydney Durga Temple Wedding Hall is an 800 seating capacity auditorium that hosts cultural performances, weddings, functions, conferences, musical and dance performances, celebrations and the temple’s annual fundraising dinner. The Devasthanam constructed the Auditorium having spent more than a million dollars on the building. The auditorium provides projectors, chairs and tables, table swags, plates, lighting, backdrops and more. The temple provides facilities such as a Men’s and Women’s restrooms, two rooms located at the sides of the stage, a small kitchenette, a sound room and two big rooms often used as dressing rooms for the bride. Bookings, packages and deals can be made by calling the temple. This is the first Hindu community hall to be within a Temple Complex in Australia.
4. Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia
- Address: 93HP+GPH, Tabanan Regency, Bali 82121, Indonesia
Tanah Lot Temple is a complex of wooden structures with origins in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, built on a large coral rock separated from the nearby island of Bali. Tanah Lot temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the gods of the sea. Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism. He arrived at the beautiful area and established a site honouring the sea god, Baruna. Here, he shared his teachings to Beraban villagers, only to face opposition from the village chief who soon gathered his loyal followers to dispel Nirartha.
The buildings were built after religious figure Dang Hyang Nirartha’s sacred journey (tirtha yatra) to Bali in the fifteenth century and have never lost their original function. As a result of continued use, Tanah Lot has been well maintained and remains a site of religious significance to the Balinese people. Onshore temples include the Penyawang, a spiritual proxy to Tanah Lot that hosts pilgrims when the main offshore temple is inaccessible during high tide. Other smaller temples around the site host prayer sessions for various aspects of the villagers’ agrarian life, from good rice harvests to rites of passage. North of Tanah Lot is Batu Bolong, similarly built on a rock formation with a ‘hollow’ overpass linking to the mainland.
5. Sagar Shiv Mandir, Mauritius
Sagar Shiv Mandir is located on Goyave de Chine island, close to the mainland of Mauritius which is connected via a land bridge. The construction of the Sagar Shiv Mandir began in the late 1970s. An extensive renovation was completed in 2007, and it was only possible because of the financial support provided by the Ghonuwa family, who invested a great deal of money in the construction of this religious site.
The temple is primarily the abode of Lord Shiva along with other Hindu deities including Goddess Lakshmi and Hanuman. The highlight is the 108 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Shiva known as Mangal Mahadev. The thin bridge connecting the temple to the mainland makes it easy to visit. Before that, worshippers had to wade through the water to reach the temple. Quite interestingly, there is a similar temple like the Sagar Shiv Mandir in Trinidad and Tobago known as the ‘Temple in the Sea’. The peaceful surroundings of the temple are loved by the locals and tourists alike where they can sit and contemplate while soaking in the holy vibe. One must be respectfully dressed for visiting the temple and must remove their shoes before entering.