Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religion, mainly concentrated in South East. In Europe, Hinduism is among the largest minor religions, with a population of around 1 to 2 million. Europe may be known for its stunning cathedrals and historic churches, but it’s also home to some truly breathtaking Hindu temples that are worth visiting for a unique spiritual experience.
These temples offer a glimpse into the ancient Indian culture and are known for their intricate carvings, stunning architecture, and serene surroundings. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to explore the top 10 Hindu temples in Europe that will ignite your soul and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and richness of Hinduism.
#1. Sri Swaminarayan Temple, London
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir or Neasden Temple is the first original Hindu temple in England, opened to the public in 1995. Under the BAPS organization, the temple was constructed following the principles of Shilpa Shastra using marble, wood, and stones with no iron or metal. The temple is accessible by bus or foot from Wembley Park, Stonebridge Park, Harlesden, and Neasden Underground and Overground stations.
To experience the Hindu culture, one can visit the temple at five specific times. The times are before sunrise, Shangar Aarti (9 AM-11 AM), Rajbhoj Aarti (11:45 AM), Sandhya Aarti (4 PM-6:30 PM), and Shayan Aarti. Sri Swaminarayan temple is among the major cultural and religious spots in London. Thus, it has received numerous awards and honors, such as the Place of Pride awards (2007), Seven Wonders of London, and more. The temple compound includes the main temple, sports room, offices, bookstore, and assembly hall.
#2. Ganesh Temple, Paris
In the southeastern communities of Paris, around La Chappelle, lies the Ganesh or Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple. Built-in 1985 by Vaithilingam Sanderasekaram is the oldest in this region. Unlike priests in other countries, priest in France doesn’t have to be of a specific caste.
All priest of this temple comes from Madras. One has to wear off their shoes when entering the temple. Inside the temple, there are numerous old statues of Hindu deities. Still, the Ganesh statue, made in Sri Lanka with five special metals, is the main attraction of this temple.
#3. Gibraltar Hindu Temple
Gibraltar Mandir resides in Engineer Lane, Gibraltar. This Hindu temple honors Lord Rama, Devi Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman. It is the only Hindu sanatorium in Gibraltar. This temple runs by charities from Hindu devotees and organizations. Within the shrines are idols of Hindu and Sindhi deities like Jhulelal, Radhe Krishna, Shiva Parvati, Ganesh, Murugan, Vishnu Laxmi, and Sindhi rishi like Guru Nanak. If someone wants to know more about ancient Hindu culture, the temple run classes on Vedas for an hour.
#4. Goloka Dhama, Germany
Amidst the dense greenery of Hunsrück National Park lies Goloka Dhama. It is a spiritual and cultural spot for Hindu devotees, mainly ISCON followers. Before transforming into Goloka Dhama, it was a wooden mill. The temple’s pathway covers a green forest, singing birds, beautiful deers and foxes, and colorful bright flowers. Inside Goloka Dhama are yoga centers, Radhe Krishna temple, healing and seminar centers, and a meal hall. Every day the priest performs aarti and puja as per Hindu traditions.
#5. Kamakshi Ambal Temple, Germany
It is the largest temple in the Westphalian, Hamm, Germany, built in the south Indian style. The south Indian refugees built it in the 1980s. It is one of the most popular and visited Hindu temples in Europe. Apart from Germany, people from Netherlands and Belgium come to this temple to worship the deity. The temple honors Goddess Kamakshi.
Inside the temple are numerous smaller statues of other Hindu Gods like Ganesha, Shiva, Murugan, Narayana, Laxmi, and Saraswati. The main figure of the goddess is made of granite imported from Kanchipuram, India. Even the temple architecture is similar in appearance to Kanchipuram’s Kamakshi temple.
#6. Sri Vishnu Thurkkai Amman Temple, Switzerland
This Hindu temple, located in Durnten, Zurich, Switzerland, is a major religious site for the Tamil people of Durnten. The temple resides in the old warehouse. The temple’s major deity in the large room is Goddess Durga sitting on a Lion. During the ten days of Durga Puja, the temple hosted a huge religious ceremony in which around 4,000 people visit to participate. The best time to visit the temple is from 6 AM to 9 PM.
#7. Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple, Tividale
Inspired by Andra Pradesh’s Tirupati Balaji temple, Shri Venkateswara Temple is among the largest running temples in Europe. It resides in Tividale, England. A non-profit Vaishnava organization runs this temple. One of the forms of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi, i.e., Venkateswara and Padmavati, are the major deities in this temple. Besides them, there are statues of other Hindu deities like Shiva, Murugan, Ganesha, Parvati, and Nine planets. Every day the temple hosts free meal services for the visitors as the temple got donations from people all over England and Europe.
#8. Muthumariamman Temple, Germany
It is one of the largest Hindu temples in northern Germany and has great importance among Tamilians. It is located in Hanover, Germany, and is the oldest Hindu temple in north Germany. The temple’s main deity is Muthumariamman – the goddess of rain and diseases. She is the major deity in South India. Inside the temple, you can find statues of Lord Ganesha, Murugan, Lion, and Navagraha. These planets are made of five metals traditionally from India and imported to Germany.
#9. Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir, England
It is one of the most popular temples in England. It comprises two Hindu temples, one located at Ealing Road, Wembley, and another at Whipps Cross, Leytonstone. The Leytonstone temple or Shri Nathji temple was built in 1980. In contrast, the Wembley temple took 14 years to build and was inaugurated in 2010. The entire Wembley structure is made of limestones and marble imported from India.
The workers from India hand-painted the entire walls and ceilings. The statues of deities like Ganesha, Radhe Krishna, Tirupati Balaji, and various spiritual gurus. Inside the Shrinathji temple are Lord Rama and Shiva Parvati’s idols with their children, Lord Hanuman and Shrinathji.
#10. Sri Sivasubramaniar Temple, Switzerland
In the town of Adliswil, Sihl valley, Switzerland, there lies the most popular and largest Hindu temple in Switzerland. This temple is built by Tamil people living in Zurich to perform daily religious activities and to preserve their Hindu culture and tradition. The temple resides in an old factory in the Industrial region near the banks of the Sihl river. Before 2000, puja only happened on Fridays.
However, after the installation of several statues of Hindu deities like Shiva, Murugan, Durga, and Ganesha, the puja ceremony started every day at 7:30 PM. The temple offers devotees to perform special puja if they pay some amount to the temple’s association. The temple also organizes several major festivals like Mahashivaratri, Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaudhuri, and more.