In a country that is referred to as melting pot there is a huge number of Hindu people which are known as one of the biggest population in the world, so we wondered: which are the most famous Hindu temples in America?
America, having in mind just the USA, has a Hindu population of around 2.69 million according to statistics from 2008. Among other countries such as Nepal and India, the USA is also one of 11 Countries with Highest Hindu Population, according to our previous research. As there are no official governmental statistics, because US Census doesn’t collect data on religion, this estimation is made more by national polls. However, according to Besheer Mohamed, senior researcher at Pew Research Institute in 2016 there were 2.1 million Hindus. By realizing that these numbers are 0.4% of the entire America’s population, then what do you think – how many Hindu temples can we find in America?
According to OWLIB Web Directory there are 254 Hindu temples in total in the USA. States in which you can visit them are listed by alphabet: Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
They differ in sizes, architecture, design and age. However, all of them are functional and open to the public. They run various Youth Programs, Programs for Children, celebrate their festivals and have many other ceremonies. The construction of the first Hindu temple in America began in 1970, and it was over in 1977. The name of the temple is Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam, more known as Ganesh Temple, which can be found in Flushing, New York. Today, it serves as the Hindu Temple Society of North America.
Hindu temples represent sacred places for people who believe in Hinduism, with the main idea of gathering people and Gods. The process of their building, having in mind motifs, and geometric symbols, reflects beliefs and values of Hindu religion. They represent spiritual shelter as well as a place of community gathering where people could rebuild their energy.
However, process of building wasn’t always the same. In ancient times, first temples were built out of clay with roofs that were made of straw or leaves, whereas in the mountains you could find temples hidden in caves. Later, stones and bricks became most used material until today. Architecture of each of them varies a lot, so much that for example Hindu temples in Northern India are different from the ones in Southern parts of the country. Nevertheless, all of them have many things in common, such as the dome and steeple, the inner chamber, the temple hall, the front porch, the reservoir and the walkaway.
Out of 254 Hindu temples in the USA, we selected 10 most famous. How? Simply, we browsed the Internet and picked the most frequently mentioned on similar lists.
Currently, the biggest Hindu temple in the world is Angkor Wat in Cambodia with amazing 820 000 m2, but not for long. India is building the world’s largest temple that will have approximately 379 feet tall spreading across 200 acres of land. Until we wait for his architectural miracle, here is the list of most famous Hindu temples in the USA.
10. Shiva Vishnu Temple in South Florida
This temple is consisted out of two buildings, traditional temple, and a community hall. It is situated in the area of 6,200 sq feets. Approximately around 300 people can fit in it.
9. The Sri Venkateswara Temple in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The interesting fact about this temple is that it has been constructed as the image of the human body. The two sides of the temple represent the hands, while the top represents the head. The whole plan of its construction you can find here.
8. Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Illinois
This Hindu temple complex was built in 1977 and it includes two separate temples: Rama temple and Ganesha-Shiva-Durga Temple. Its area is estimated at 22 acres.
7. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, Texas
Being built for 28 months, with over 33 000 pieces of hand carved marble and limestone, this temple was finished in 2004. The area spreads over 22 acres.
6. Ganesh Temple in Flushing, New York
First and the oldest Hindu temple in America was built, as we already mentioned in 1977. However, it was opened before, in the 1970’s so that it could host traditional and religious events. It is considered one of the most famous Hindu temples in America.
5. Vraj Hindu Temple in Pennsylvania
One of the biggest Hindu temples you can also find if you visit Eastern Pennsylvania in Schuylkill County, is Vraj Hindu Temple. It covers 300 acres of the land.
4. Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Maryland
The construction of Sri Siva Vishnu Temple started in 1988 and it was finished in 2002. This Hindu temple is just 12 km from Washington DC, located in the city of Lanham.
3. New Vrindaban Temple in West Virginia
New Vrindaban Temple is part of the ISKCON International Community of West Virginia, and it is named after the town in India, Vrindaban. Another name of the temple is also The Palace of God, and its area covers 500 acres of land.
2. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta
This 32, 000 square feet temple has the tower that is 75 feet tall. In order to be built 4,500 tons of Italian Carrara marble, 4,300 tons of Turkish limestone, and 3,500 tons of Indian pink sandstone were shipped to the USA. It is estimated to be on 30 acres of land.
1. The Akshardham Temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey
Finally, on the first place of most famous Hindu temples in America is the Akshardham Temple in New Jersey. Its construction finished in 2017, and it is now open to the public. It has the height of 42 feet, width 87 feet and length 133 feet, which makes it one of the biggest Hindu temples not only in America, but the whole world.