Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. India is the birthplace of the religion and it is where it has the strongest presence. However, the religion still managed to cross the boundaries and established its presence in various parts of the world. The wide reach of Hinduism is evident from numerous temples erected across the globe. These temples are not only known for pilgrimage, but also tourism as well, due to their architectural brilliance. Here is the list of 10 Amazing Hindu Temples outside India.
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10. Munneswaram Temple, Sri Lanka
It is a complex of temples, which include a Buddhist temple as well. Its origin dates back to 10th century but is closely associated with Hindu mythology. It is believed that Lord Rama prayed here to Lord Shiva for assistance in his epic battle against Ravana. Among the five temples, the one dedicated to Lord Shiva is the most important. The complex has had to face attacks from the colonial powers at various points of time. The major festivals here include Shivaratri and Navaratri. The temple is also very popular with Buddhists.
9. Pura Besakih, Indonesia
Located in the island of Bali, Pura Besakih or Mother Temple is a large complex of temples, the largest of which is the Pura Penataran Agung. The complex, situated on the slopes of Mount Agung, consists of 23 separate temples. The history of its origin is lost to time, though the main shrine is thought to be a few centuries old. The temples host numerous festivals throughout the year.
8. Sri Subramaniam Temple, Malaysia
This temple located in the ancient limestone caves a few miles away from Kuala Lumpur is known for the gigantic statue of Lord Subramaniam standing at its entrance. The place was promoted as a shrine in 1890 by an Indian trader named Thamboosamy Pillai. The complex consists of a major cave with several deities and various smaller caves. There are also many carvings depicting mythical tales. The major festival held in the temple, Thaipusam, attracts thousands of devotees every year.
7. Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal
Located on the banks of the Bagmati River near Kathmandu Valley Pashupatinath temple is the most famous temple in Nepal, which used to be the world’s only Hindu nation until a few years ago. The establishment of the temple dates back to 8th century. Built in native architectural style, the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the earthquake of April 2015, the temple suffered considerable damage, however the sanctum santorum remained largely untouched.
6. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, USA
Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a sect of Hinduism originated a couple of centuries ago. They have established their presence in various corners of the world and built a number of temples dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan. One of them, located in Atlanta, is particularly beautiful for its unique design and architecture. Carved in stone, it is homage to the Himalayas, revered by Hindus.
5. Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple, England
Located in Tividale, this temple dedicated to Lord Venketeswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was built in 2006. It was the first European temple dedicated to the deity. The temple was modeled after the famous Tirupati Tirumala temple in India. The primary shrine of the temple houses a 12ft statue of Venketeswara
4. Radha Madhav Dham, US
Considered to be the largest temple complex in the American continent, this was built in the leadership of Prakashnand Saraswati in 1990. Located in Texas, it is built to represent the ancient holy Indian city of Braj, where Lord Krishna and his lover Radha are believed to have lived thousands of years ago.
3. Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Temple, Malaysia
The Arulmigu temple in Tebrau was built in the 1920s on land donated by the Sultan of Johor. It is a special structure, made up of mostly glass. Various sculptures, adorned with gold, also enhance the beauty of the structure. The temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva. Scores of devotees and tourists visit the temple daily.
2. Prambanan, Java
Indonesia has a significant presence of Hinduism, as a result of cultural exchange spanning centuries. The Prambanan temple is a testament to the stronghold the religion once had here. It is one of the very rare temples dedicated to all the ‘Trimurthis’ of Hinduism, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, however Shiva has been given more prominence than the others. The temple was built around the 9th century and is famous for carvings depicting various episodes from Hindu mythology. It is now preserved as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, located in Cambodia, is not just the largest temple complex, but also the largest religious monument in the world. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarmanam II in the early 12th century. The temple, when built, was dedicated to Lord Vishnu. However, with the rise of Buddhism in East Asia, the temple gradually became a Buddhist center as well. Spreading over 400 acres, Angkor Wat is the prime example of Khmer architecture. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Top 10 Amazing Hindu Temples Outside India
- Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia
- Prambanan temple, Java
- Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Temple, Malaysia
- Radha Madhav Dham, US
- Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple, England
- BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, USA
- Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal
- Sri Subramaniam Temple, Malaysia
- Pura Besakih, Indonesia
- Munneswaram Temple, Sri Lanka
Author – Nikhil Rajagopalan