Holy Pilgrimage -Hindu temples in Foreign Countries -2

Holy Pilgrimage  - Hindu temples in Foreign Countries

Arya Dewaker, Suriname

Arya Dewaker (Hindi वही आर्य देवकर) is the name of the Hindu association that built probably the biggest Hindu temple of Suriname. The temple attracts many visitors, both Hindus and non-Hindus, coming from Suriname and from all over the world. It is located in the city centre fields in Paramaribo.

Suriname (or Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch: Republiek Suriname, Dutch pronunciation:  is a country in northern South America. It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the north, making it one of two countries, French Guiana the other, not to border any of the Spanish-speaking countries on the continent. Suriname was colonized by the English and the Dutch in the 17th century.


The temple was officially opened on 11 February 2001.  Since Arya Dewaker is the most important section of the Arya Samaj in Suriname today, it is reasonable to regard this house of worship as the main tempel of the 15,000 Hindus who are said to belong this Hindu reform movement inspired by Swami Dayananda Sarasvati (1823-1883)
Arya Dewaker was founded on 29 September 1929 on the initiative of Mehtā Jaimīnī, an Ārya Samājī who was exiled from India at the time. Arya Dewaker means 'Aryan Sun'. On 5 February 1930 the association received formal recognition from the Dutch colonial government.
In 1936 the association constructed its first mandir, a temple, in which the members could convene and hold the ceremonies around a Vedic fire, which are characteristic for the Arya Samaj. However, it lasted until 1947 before the tempel was officially inaugurated  An Aryan temple, moreover, has no images.  Earlier they came together in classrooms which provisorily were arranged as temple halls. The house of worship constructed in 1936 was built according to the usual pattern of an Aryan temple.  It was demolished in 1975 to make place for a new temple, but because of a radical change in the construction plans and financial problems due to the bad economic situation of Suriname in the 1980s and 1990s the erection of this building took around twenty years.

The Temple's Symbolism

The new house of worship completed in 2001 differs entirely from previous Aryan temples, as the Dutch architect Arthur E. de Groot devised in good coöperation with the members of the board and the building committee of Arya Dewaker an octogonal building of two floors.  The ground flour includes various meeting rooms and a library and the upper floor is the space where the ceremonies are performed. The place for burning the fire is in the centre of the hall, whereas the benches are placed in circles surrounding the fireplace, which emphasizes that all people attending the fire ceremony are in principle equal. ] The building is octogonal, so it gives the impression that it is round, which reflects the circular form of the sun, the moon and the earth. The three towers refer to the three eternal units in our universal existence: the absolute God, human being and nature. The roofs of the two smaller towers and the tower on the big dome of the temple all have four floors, a number referring to the four Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The building does not contain any image of a divinity, since the worship of images is forbidden in the Ārya Samāj. Swastikas, Om-syllables and Sanskrit and Hindi sentences in devanagari script are painted on the walls and the ceilings. Some of these texts have a ritual character, such as the Gayatri Mantra, a holy formula derived from the Rig Veda (3,62,10), while other sentences are ethical exhortations derived, for example, from the Manusmrti (Mānava Dharmashāstra). The swastika stands for salvation and the Om-syllable refers to the absolute God, whereas a recitation of Vedic verses is considered to be very powerful.
The architect wished to erect a 'tropical temple', in which the qualities of the buildings in Suriname with their large eaves and verandas and their white painted checkered windows can be recognised. At the same time the architecture is clearly inspired by the forms and patterns of the era of the Moghuls in India and the time of the Moors in Spain.  Some pillars could come directly from the Red Fort in Agra.

Other Temples in Suriname

  Radha Krishna Mandir, Commissaris Roblesweg 1299, Suriname
  Brahma Kumaris - Straat 9, Tourtonne III - Paramaribo
  Shri Satnarain Mandir
  Arsche Hindu Temple
  Radh Krishna Mandir Jai Tera Match see Zindza
  Shri Satnarain Mandir
  Shri Jagadambe Mandir Griend Diendo
  Hindu Community Centre, New TJ Lelystad
  Sri Sivasubramaniya Thevastanam
  ISKCON Hare Krishna temple, Kwattaweg 459

Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple, Berlin, Germany

t has been a long desire of the Hindu community living in Berlin to build a Ganesha temple. This idea materialised in June 2004 with the support of Bezirksamt Neuk?ln, who generously offered sites on which a temple could be built. A suitable site was found and chosen on the fringe of the public park ?asenheide? neighbouring the ?eue Welt Criteria for the selection of the site were, a) Availability of enough space for the project. b) Favourable connections to public transport system of Berlin. c) Sufficient parking space with good integration into the neighbourhood, specially the Park Hasenheide. The Hindu community members formed an association as ?ri Ganesha Hindu Temple e.v. with an aim to carry out the construction, maintenance of temple and cultural /community centre. The association is registered in Berlin as e.v., in the year 2006, and is also recognised by the Finance authorities of Germany, as a charitable organization

  • Build a place of worship that caters to the religious needs of the Hindu community in Berlin.
  • Provide various religious services and create a venue for spiritual enrichment.
  • Promote Hindu and Vedic principles, traditions, values and solidarity.
  • Support spiritual; cultural and religious events and programs.
  • Develop the temple as a Hindu culture center which meets the broad religious, cultural, and educational needs of the Hindu community.
  • Offer educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities for new generation.

Location of Temple:

Sri Ganesha Hindu temple will be situated in the heart of Berlin city called "Hasenheide Park" in Neuk?ln district of Berlin. The Hasenheide Park has peaceful environment surrounded by lush greenery. Moreover, the location of temple has excellent connection to the public transportation (Underground Rail and Bus); sufficient parking space and a good integration with the locality.

Immediate Task:

A project report on the construction of the temple had been worked out in detail in the year 2005 and 2006 with the close co-operation of respective institutions and agencies. The layout of the temple hall will be 18 x 18 meters in the fundamental outline and 6 metres in height. The temple will be built as per the guidelines of Vedic and Agama sastras in a traditional colourful manner. The entrance of the temple will be an 17 meter high Raja Gopuram, facing the road (Hasenheide) which will be richly decorated with deity icons. The second Gopuram, a Vimana Gopura, will be elevated above the temple hall marking the shrine of Sri Ganesha, the main diety.

List of Hindu temples in Guyana

Guyana   officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana  is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America. Culturally Guyana is part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana is one of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Guyana is a member, has its secretariat's headquarters in Guyana's capital, Georgetown.
Guyana was originally colonized by the Netherlands. Later, it became a British colony and remained so for over 200 years until it achieved independence on 26 May 1966 from the United Kingdom. On 23 February 1970, Guyana officially became a republic. In 2008, the country joined the Union of South American Nations as a founding member.
Guyana, a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations, is the only South American nation whose official language is English.
Historically, the region known as "Guiana" or "Guyana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters". Historical Guyana consists of three Dutch colonies: Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice. Modern Guyana is bordered by Suriname to the east; by Brazil to the south and southwest; by Venezuela to the west; and by the Atlantic Ocean to the north.

Tain Hindu Mandir, Guyana

The Tain Hindu Mandir is a Hindu temple located in Tain Settlement, a rural community in Port Mourant Corentyne Berbice in Guyana, South America. It is affiliated with the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha; however, its genesis was inspired by the Guyana Sevasharam Sangh Cove and John, East Coast Demerara.
On Sunday evenings during the 1960s, 1970s, and the latter part of the 1980s, the Tain Hindu Mandir used to conduct Hawan services followed by bhagan singing. These services were usually attended by adults. The mandir also has a youth organisation, the Tain Hindu Youth Organisation, and although most of the founding members migrated overseas, the younger generation of East Indians living in Tain/Clifton/Johns are keeping their rich Hindu culture, heritage and tradition alive.

Annandale Hindu Temple
Better Hope Mandir
Better Hope
Cane Grove Hindu Temple
Enmore Shiv Mandir
Enterprise Hindu Temple
Fowles Hindu Temple
Guyana Sevasharam Sangh
Cove & John
LBI Hindu Mandir
Le Bonne Intention
Lusignan Mandir
Lusignan North Mandir
Lusignan, North
Mon Repos Shiv Mandir
Mon Repos Pasture
Mon Repos Stya Narayan Mandir
Mon Repos South
Non Pareil Mandir
Non Pareil
Nootenzuil Hindu Temple
Ogle Hindu Temple
Strataven Hindu Temple
Success Hindu Temple
Good Success
Triumph Sanatan Dharma Sabha
Triumph Village
Unity/Lancaster Shiv Mandir
Demerara Mahaica
Virginia Hindu Temple
Alexander Vishnu Mandir
Bel Air Mandir
Brahma Kumaris
Cummings Lodge Hindu Temple
Dharmic Sabha Sanskritik Kendra
Guyana Central Samaj
Maha Sabha
Mahatma Gandhi Organization Mandir
Rama Krishna Mandir
De Hoop Hindu Temple
Good Hope Hindu Temple
Good Hope
Helena Hindu Temple - 1
Helena No. 1
Helena Hindu Temple - 2
Helena No. 2
Huntley Hindu Temple
Huntley, Mahaicony
Mahaica Creek Hindu Temple
#10 Mahaica Creek
Hague Front Hindu Mandir
Hindu Temple Complex
Essequibo Islands-West Demerara
Saraswati Vidya Niketan
Essequibo Islands-West Demerara
Sri Sri Radha Govinda Gaudiya Matha Centre

156 Area 'A' Bladen Hall School road, east coast Demerara

Hinduism in South America

Hindu communities are found in several countries of South America, but they are strongest in Guyana and Suriname. There are about 400,000 Hindus in South America, chiefly the descendants of Indian indentured labourers in the Guianas. There are about 270,000 Hindus in Guyana, 120,000 in Suriname, and some others in French Guiana. In Guyana, Hindus form 35% of the population.

Hinduism in Argentina

Indians in Argentina Argentina has 1,200 People of Indian Origin and 400 Non Residential Indians.
Many of the PIOs in Argentina have remained attached to their Indian culture and traditions. They have constructed a gurudwara at Rosario de la Frontera in Salta province.
Some of them are actively involved in propagating ayurveda, yoga, Indian classical music and the Hindi language.
They have established an Indian Association [2] in the northern provinces and organise social and cultural events to celebrate Indian festivals. Unfortunately, there is little interaction between them and those who have settled down in other parts of this extensive country.
A large number of the Indian Diaspora living in Buenos Aires are businessmen, doctors, financial or business executives, and employees of multinational corporations. Most of them have retained their Indian citizenship  

Hinduism in Brazil

Most of the Brazilian Hindus are ethnic East Indians.
There are 1,500 PIOs (People of Indian origin) and about 400 NRIs (Non Resident Indian) in Brazil.
First wave of Immigration
A small number of Sindhis had arrived here from Suriname and Central America in 1960 to set up shop as traders in the city of Manaus.
Second wave of Immigration
Consisted of university professors who arrived in the 1960s and also in the 1970s.
Other PIOs migrated to this country from various African countries, mainly from former Portuguese colonies (especially Mozambique), soon after their independence in the 1970s. The number of PIOs in Brazil has been augmented in recent years by the arrival of nuclear scientists and computer professionals.
There are as many as 1,500 PIOs among the Indian community in Brazil, and only 400 NRIs, since foreign nationals can acquire local citizenship without any discrimination after 15 years of domicile in this country. Brazil has also no bar against dual citizenship. But in recent years, it has been granting immigration visas only in high technology fields. The only exceptions are the Sindhis in Manaus (who have formed an Indian Association with about a hundred members) and the Goans in São Paulo.

Hinduism in Chile

A few Indians had gone to Chile in the 1920s. The others migrated there about 30 years ago - not only from India, but also from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines and Singapore.
The total number of PIOs today does not exceed 650 persons in a country of almost 16 million people.
Belonging mostly to the Sindhi community, they are usually engaged in trade and are reasonably prosperous.
Many of them have married Chilean women and acquired Chilean nationality, and yet they have largely remained out of the Chilean mainstream. Some members of the younger generation, being Chilean citizens by birth, have however ventured into professions.
A Hindu Temple exists in Punta Arenas.
Besides Punta Arenas, the Indian business community is also present in Santiago, the Capital of Chile, and Iquique. The activities of businessmen in Santiago are mainly confined to imports and retail stores.

Hinduism in Colombia

Hinduism in Colombia was mainly introduced with the arrival of Indians. There are ISKCON (The Hare-Krishnas) centers in capital Bogota

Hinduism in French Guiana

Most of the Hindus in French Guiana are of Surinamese origin. According to the 2000 census 1.6% of the total population (3,200 out of 202,000) were Hindu.  

Hinduism in Guyana

About 84% of the East Indian immigrants were Hindus, and their dominant sect was the Vaishnavite Hinduism of Bihar and North India. Some 30 percent of the East Indians were from agricultural castes and 31 percent were labourers. Brahmins, the highest caste, constituted 14 percent of the East Indian immigrants. Vaishnavite Hinduism remains the predominant religion of the Indo-Guyanese, though it was considerably modified.
During the indenture period, the East Indian caste system broke down. Hinduism was redefined, and caste-distinguishing practices were eliminated. Christian missionaries attempted to convert East Indians during the indenture period, beginning in 1852, but met with little success. The missionaries blamed the Brahmins for their failure: the Brahmins began administering spiritual rites to all Hindus regardless of caste once the Christian missionaries started proselytizing in the villages, hastening the breakdown of the caste system. After the 1930s, Hindu conversions to Christianity slowed because the status of Hinduism improved and the discrimination against Hindus diminished.
In areas where there are large percentage of Indo Guyanese residing together — Mandirs (Hindu temple) of various sizes can be found, according to the population. All main Hindu occasions are observed — Basant Panchami in January to Geeta Jayanti in December.
Since the late 1940s, reform movements caught the attention of many Guyanese Hindus. The most important, the Arya Samaj movement, arrived in Guyana in 1910. Arya Samaj doctrine rejects the idea of caste and the exclusive role of Brahmins as religious leaders. The movement preaches monotheism and opposition to the use of images in worship as well as many traditional Hindu rituals. Caste distinctions are all but forgotten among Guyanese Hindus. Currently the number of Guyanese Hindus is steeply declining because of emigration and conversion to other religions. Approximately between 216,000 and 230,000 identified themselves as Hindus in the 2002 census.

Hinduism in Panama

The majority of Indians in Panama are Hindus and they live in Panama City.

Hinduism in Paraguay

In the 2002 census, it was estimated that about 151 Hindus live in Paraguay. They also make up 0.01% of Paraguay's population. Paraguay's ambassador to India (Mr Pappalardo) gave Punjab farmers a high opportunity to invest the country.  Most of the Hindus live in Asunción.

Hinduism in Peru

The first ‘Indian Indians’ to have arrived in Peru were businessmen who had gone there in the early 1960s. Later on, the community grew in number marginally until the early 80s, after which many of its members left due to the severe local economic crises and the prevailing terrorism. Those with relatives in other Latin countries joined them.
In the recent past, the size of the community has remained stable. There is a small remnant of the original ‘native Indians’ in this country who still maintain their traditional culture and religious beliefs.
Most members of the local Indian community are Sindhis. They are reasonably well-off, but very few can be regarded as prosperous. Their general level of education is low. Most of them speak only their mother tongue and Spanish, with a smattering of English.
There is also here a small number of professionals from other parts of India. Residence permits are not difficult to obtain in Peru. But citizenship is more complicated and only a small number of Indians have obtained it – not more than 10 out of a total number of almost forty persons. While a few cultural activities are organised by the more enterprising PIOs, in general they maintain a low profile. Considering the vast distance that separates the community from India, its interest in its country of origin is limited to major events, mainly derived from occasional browsing on the internet. But being invariably first generation migrants, many of them do occasionally visit India.

Hinduism in Suriname

The story of Hinduism in Suriname is broadly parallel to that in Guyana. Indian indentured labourers were sent to colonial Dutch Guiana by special arrangement between the Dutch and British. Hindus today comprise some 27-33% of the Surinamese population, or about 118,000 people. The difference is that the Netherlands' more liberal policy toward Hinduism allowed the culture to develop stronger. Examples are the lack of a rigid caste system and the almost universal reading of Gita and Ramayan.

Hinduism in Uruguay

There are a few Yoga organizations in Uruguay, which spread Indian thought and philosophy-prominent among them are, Sivapremananda Ashram of the Divine Society. A portion of the beach in Montevideo has been named after Mahatma Gandhi and a bust of Gandhiji installed in one of the parks along the beach. There is a school named after him in Montevideo, a street and another school named after Republic of India.  There is a small Indian community in Uruguay consisting of a few.

Hinduism in Venezuela

During the oil-related high-income years of the 1970s, there were around 400 NRIs in this country.
The Indian community consisted of personnel from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors, as well as a large number of traders. Many of them had taken their families with them to Venezuela, whether from India or elsewhere. Most of the traders belonged to the Sindhi community but there were also some persons from Gujarat, Punjab and the southern Indian States.
When the oil boom ended in 1982, followed by devaluation of the local currency, many of the NRIs decided to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Currently, the Diaspora has been whittled down to half its former size. There are now only about 45 Indian families in Venezuela who are mainly engaged in retail trade. There are also a small number of experts in high tech. industries such as telecommunications.
All of them have adapted themselves very well to their country of residence and are generally held in high regard by the local people on account of their hard work, expertise and non-political nature.
The Venezuelan Constitution guarantees equal rights without discrimination to all expatriate personnel. This has facilitated the Indian community’s life.
Another interesting feature is that many local persons are interested in Indian religions and spirituality.
Some members of the Indian community also attend their functions. Most of the NRIs are well educated. However, given their small numbers, they have not formed themselves into an active representative body. But they remain in touch with one another and with the Indian Embassy in Caracas. Even though they have little time to engage in numerous cultural activities, they do get together to celebrate Indian festivals like Diwali.
On the whole, the Indian community in Venezuela is quite prosperous and has a per capita income that is above the national average that is itself as high as US$ 8,300 in terms of PPP. They take an active part in mobilising donations to help in alleviating distress at times of national calamities in India


  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Mombasa
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nakuru
  • ISKCON Krishna Temple, Nairobi
  • ISKCON Krishna Temple, Kisumu
  • ISKCON Krishna Temple, Mombasa
  • Shri Kalyana Venkateswara Temple, Nairobi
  • Swaminarayan Temple, Kiriyanga, Nairobi
  • Swaminarayan Temple, Nairobi, Eldoret
  • Swaminarayan Temple, Nairobi, Kisumu
  • Swaminarayan Temple, Nairobi, mombasa
  • Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nairobi (SKSS)
  • Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Mombasa
  • Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Kerugoya

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Nairobi, Kenya

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nairobi is a Hindu temple in Nairobi, Kenya. Although there were temples in Africa before this, it is the first traditional stone and marble Hindu temple to be constructed on the African continent and was built by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, an international Hindu organisation belonging to the Swaminarayan faith of Hinduism. It was opened on August 29 1999 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

The Mandir was designed according to the ancient Hindu shilpa shastras and is made from 350 tonnes of yellow sandstone from Jesalmer mined from Rajasthan, India. The stone was mined and transported to Pindwada, some 400km to Jesalmer where it was hand-carved by 150 craftsmen. Following two years of carving work, the pieces were shipped to Mombasa, Kenya and assembled in Nairobi like a giant three dimensional jigsaw puzzle.
The interior of the Mandir is unique in that it is made from intricately carved wood. Most traditional Hindu temples have stone interiors but this BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir uses indigenous timber from East Africa, such as camphor, mahogany, mvuli, Mt. Elgon teak and meru oak.  This was exported to India and carved by approximately 250 craftsmen
The Mandir comes complete with shikhars (pinnacles), sthambhas (pillars) and ghummats (domes). A team from Kenya visited some of the famous temples and monuments in Rajasthan, Kerala and elsewhere in India before the temple design was finalised

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nairobi (EASS Temple)

The East Africa Swaminarayan Satsang Temple, Nairobi was built in 1945. It was the first Swaminarayan temple to be built outside the Indian subcontinent as well as the first on the continent of Africa. This temple comes under the NarNarayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday.

History of this temple

Pictorial images of Swaminarayan were consecrated in India and were then shipped to Nairobi in 1945.   In 1957, Acharya Maharajshree Tejendraprasad Pande (in his Pre-Acharya status) on behalf of his father (who was then Acharya), visited the temple for the first time and installed images of Swaminarayan in the ladies section.

Hinduism and Temples in the Republic of Macedonia

Hinduism in the Republic of Macedonia is mainly represented by the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON) and the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation. ISKCON and the Satya Sai Baba-Centre have been registered in the Republic of Macedonia as a part of the Oriental religion.

Macedonia   Macedonian: Македонија), officially the Republic of Macedonia (Република Македонија, transliterated: Republika Makedonija   is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993 but, as a result of a dispute with Greece over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,  sometimes abbreviated as FYROM.
A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo  to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south and Albania to the west.  It constitutes approximately the northwestern half of the larger geographical region of Macedonia, which also comprises parts of Greece and Bulgaria. The country's capital is Skopje.

Hare Krishna in Macedonia

ISKCON is a legally registered and recognized as a religious minority in Macedonia. The main center is located in Skopje, Ul:31 Br:33, nas. Volkovo, 1000 Skopje, with sympathizers throughout the country. Its first center was opened in 1988. Local members are frequently visited by devotees from other former Yugoslav countries, who are considerably larger in number.
In Macedonia, governments regularly invite Hare Krishna devotees whenever there is an occasion for various religious bodies to meet together. The deceased President Trajkovski invited members each time he met with leaders from other religious groups.

Sathya Sai Baba Organisation in Macedonia

The Sathya Sai Baba Organisation is a legally registered and recognized as a religious minority in Macedonia. The Macedonian Sathya Sai movement, much like the Hare Krishna devotees, has its roots at the end of the 1980s. At that time a group in Skopje was formed spontaneously. Now the Sathya Sai Organization has three centres in Skopje. There is a smaller group in Štip, and a sizable number of sympathizers in the rest of the country.

Other Hindu Groups

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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