Top 10 most famous temples in the US
Top 10 most famous temples in the US

Hinduism is one of the major religions of America, thanks to the large number immigrants from Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Carribean regions. One of major milestone for Hinduism in America is the famous speech by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago in 1893.

Later, in 1902, Swami Rama Thirtha spent about two years in America lecturing people about Vedanta. The Vedanta society is responsible for building early Hindu temples in America. The first traditional temple built in the US was the Shiva Murugan temple built in 1957. Currently, there are about 450 temples built across the country.

This article explores some of the most famous temples in US that are popular for their art and architecture.

The List of top 10 most famous temples in America

10. Eternal Mother Temple

9. Sri Lakshmi temple

8. Hindu Temple of Florida

7. Murugan Temple of North America

6. Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago

5. Shiva Vishnu temple

4. Shree Swami Narayan Temple

3. San Margairaivan Temple

2. BAPS Shri Swami Narayan Mandir

1. Malibu Hindu Temple

More information of top 10 most famous temples in America

10. Eternal Mother Temple

Photo: Wkipedia
Photo: Wkipedia

Parashakthi Temple, also known as Eternal Mother Temple is a tirtha peetham (pilgrimage) in the west for Devi Adi Parashakti Durga worshipers situated in the heart of Pontiac, Michigan, United States. The Temple was built in 1999 and the inaugural pooja took place on Vijayadasami day.

Mission statement: To share Divine Mother's grace with humanity so that they can explore and experience the Divine.

Main deity: Devi Parashakthi

Divine Mother Parashakthi is "Divine Pure Eternal Consciousness" manifested as Shiva Shakthi and formed a Nada Bindu (sound and spiritual light), which separated into Shiva and Shakthi. All the gods and goddesses are her manifestations of various vibratory divine entities. At Parashakthi Temple, she is present as Parashakthi Karumari Ambika who is closest to the earthly creations. Devi Parashakthi is Kundalini Shakthi, which manifested as Prakrti (Shakthi), which together with Purusha (Shiva) has materialized into various universes (multiverse) as living and non-living entities through maya (illusion) Shakthi.

The Mother Parashakthi Sanctum (Sannidhi) is also graced by the presence of the Maha Meru which now confers the status of RajaRajeswari/ Bhuvaneswari to this Sannidhi. Further, on the same pedestal, there is Goddess Raja Matangi, Devi Varahi Ambika, and Devi Bhuvaneshwari. The presence of the different aspects of the Great Mother along with the Maha Meru makes this a very highly energized focus of worship.

9. Sri Lakshmi temple

Photo: Sri Laskhmi. org
Photo: Sri Laskhmi. org

The Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland, Massachusetts, also known as the New England Hindu Temple, Inc. (NEHTI), is New England’s first traditional Hindu temple. The temple was inaugurated in 1990 by priests from India, the United States, and Britain. Following the inauguration in 1990, the temple was expanded in 2005 and 2018. The central deity worshiped is Lakshmi, who Hindus consider as the Goddess of Prosperity.

While South Asians began migrating to the United States towards the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, they did not come in significant numbers until the latter half of the 20th century. In 1978, a small group of Hindu Indian immigrant families residing in the Boston metropolitan area began offering prayers and worship together. The group formed a formal organization, known as the New England Hindu Temple, Inc., and began arranging weekly spiritual assemblies at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Melrose, Massachusetts.

Weekly gatherings inspired the organization of devotees to create a Hindu temple as a permanent place of worship for them. A committee of members pledged $101 each towards the construction of a traditional Hindu temple in New England. On 28 October 1978, in Melrose, Massachusetts, the committee announced their plans to build a temple.

In 1981, the New England Hindu Temple, Inc. purchased 12 acres of land on Waverly Street in Ashland, Massachusetts to construct a temple.

Ganapathy Sthapathi, an architect from the Institute of Architecture and Sculpture in Tamil Nadu, developed the designs for the temple in accordance with the Hindu scriptures. Sthapathi has supported the creation of numerous Hindu temples across the United States.

On 19 June 1984, the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple was completed with Hindu rites to sanctify the land that the temple would be built on.

In June 1985, the temple committee applied for a loan with the Thirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), a private trust based in India that manages Hindu temples around the world. The TTD accepted the application and distributed the funds to New England Hindu Temple, Inc.

In 1986, the exterior stone cladding was completed. Although the construction of the temple’s interior was in progress, the temple held an initial consecration celebration. As long as the interior remained incomplete, weekly worship was conducted at the Needham Village Club. By 1989, construction of the entire temple was completed, and a four-day grand opening ceremony took place in May of 1990. The temple is more commonly known as the Sri Lakshmi Temple because it is dedicated to Lakshmi, the Hindu deity associated with prosperity.

8. Hindu Temple of Florida

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

LESS THAN TEN MILES NORTH of the Tampa International Airport, on an unassuming side road that rolls through the flat terrain and lush vegetation typical of Florida’s bay area, an architecturally distinctive building bursts suddenly above the treetops. Built to serve the needs of a growing Indian community, the Hindu Temple of Florida is unique among its suburban environs.

Completed in 1996, the building is characterized by its prominent pyramid structure, which forms an entrance tower situated atop an exterior staircase that conducts worshippers to a rooftop courtyard and pooja room. After the building’s completion, a process of “Indianization” began to adorn the exterior in the florid architectural details seen today.

The Hindu Temple of Florida is available for weddings, birthdays, and various public and private poojas, and is attended by priests who conduct services primarily in Sanskrit. Consistent with the non-canonical nature of Hinduism—the oldest religion in the world—the temple has no prescribed days or times for services, nor required donations or methods of worship.

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7. Murugan Temple of North America

Photo: The Plannery
Photo: The Plannery

The Murugan Temple of North America is the first temple in the United States that is dedicated to the Hindu deity Murugan. The temple is located in Lanham, Maryland, about 5 miles (8.0 km) from Washington, D.C. Conceived in the 1980s and opened in 1999, the temple celebrates all Hindu and Tamil festivals, holidays and special occasions. In addition, the temple conducts bhajans, Tamil and religious classes. Devotees from Maryland, Washington, Virginia and throughout the country (even from neighboring Canada) visit this traditional Saivite Hindu temple. The main sannidhi at the temple is for Murugan (Karttikeya) with Valli Devasena. There are four other sannidhis, for Vinayaka (Ganesha), Siva, Meenakshi, Durga and Palani Aandavar.

The grand procession of Lord Murugan with Valli Devasena takes place during major festivals. On 7 August 2009, the Vellottam was conducted for the new Ratham. On 8 August 2009, Lord Murugan ascended in the new Ratham for the Nallur Kathirgamam Kanthan festival. It was drawn by the devotees around the Murugan Temple during an auspicious period. Every year, the Nallur festival is celebrated in Murugan Temple during August and Murugan ascends in the Ratham. The second Kumbabhishegam for all deities in the Murugan Temple was performed on 13 May 2011. The Sri Siva Vishnu Temple is located less than 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Murugan Temple.

6. Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago

Photo: Timeout
Photo: Timeout

The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago (HTGC) is a Hindu temple complex in Lemont, Illinois, established in 1977. The complex includes two separate temples:

Rama Temple, which includes Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, Lord Ganesha, Sri Hanuman, Lord Venkateshwara (Balaji), Mahalakshmi, Sri Krishna, and Radha.

Ganesha-Shiva-Durga Temple, which includes, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Durga Devi, Lord Subrahmanya, Devi Parvathi, Nataraja, Ayappasamy and Navagraha.

In addition, there is a separate Spiritual Center, named after Swami Vivekananda. The Swami Vivekanada Spiritual Center, which houses RITU Meditation Center, serves as a venue for many spiritual activities, including meditation, yoga classes, and spiritual lectures.

Adjoining the Vivekananda Spiritual Center, on "Vivekananda Hill", a hillock in the temple campus, is a 10-foot tall bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, modeled after his photograph taken in Chicago after his appearance at the World's Parliament of Religions in 1893. It is the first statue of Vivekananda to be installed in a public place in the United States of America.

Perched on a wooded hillside above the Des Plaines River valley in Lemont, Illinois, the temple represents one of the most impressive feats of devotion outside India. The temple complex consists of four buildings, the Rama temple, Ganesha-Shiva-Durga temple a community center connecting the two temples and Vivekananda Spiritual Center.

The Rama temple is built to specifications in the authentic style of the Chola dynasty (a 10th-century dynasty of Indian Kings). The temple's architecture is a perfect blend of the ancient with the modern. Its magnificent 80-foot tower (Gopuram) is a potent symbol of Hindu spirit. A large hall in the lower level of the temple has facilities to stage cultural events.

A smaller temple north of the Rama temple is the Ganesha-Shiva-Durga temple. This temple is built in the architecture style of the Kalinga dynasty (1st century B.C.E.).

5. Shiva Vishnu temple

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Sri Siva Vishnu Temple (SSVT) is a Hindu temple located in Lanham, Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C. It is one of the largest temples in the United States. The Temple is located on Cipriano Road one mile away from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. There are two temples located on the same road. The Murugan Temple of North America is located in the vicinity.

The main deities represented in the temple include Shiva as Ramanathaswamy (the deity of the Rameswaram Temple) and Vishnu as Ananthapadmanabha (the deity of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple). Along with them, there are shrines for Parvathi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Durga, Rama, Krishna, Ganapathi, Subrahmanya, Andal, Hanuman and Navagrahas. Ayyappa has a separate shrine in the model of the famous Sabarimala temple, with 18 steps.

The Sri Siva Vishnu Temple hosts several cultural programs throughout the year. These include concerts and dance performances by community and featured artists.

4. Shree Swami Narayan Temple

Photo: Chicago Magazine
Photo: Chicago Magazine

God: Swami Narayan

Location: Illinois Itasca, Chicago

The Narayan temple opened in 1998. It was built at the cost of $10 million, reportedly the most expensive Hindu temple in the Midwest at that time. The temple boasts of marriage and banquet facilities and is 34,000 square feet (3,200 m2) in size.

The temple celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008 with carnival games and raffles, Indian craft exhibits, henna temporary tattoos, historical exhibits, guided tours of the temple, live dance performances and native foods. Eleven different cultural performances were organized by temple youth as part of the procession. Officials expected 5000 people to take part in this celebration and peoples from the different part of USA, India and England.

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3. San Margairaivan Temple

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

The San Marga Iraivan Temple is a Chola-style Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva located on the Kauai island in the state of Hawaii, USA. "Iraivan" means "He who is worshipped," and is one of the oldest words for God in the Tamil language. It is the first all-stone, white granite temple to be built in the western hemisphere whose construction began in 1990. The Iraivan Temple is located next to the Wailua River and 8 km from Mount Waialeale. It is maintained by the Saiva Siddhanta Church which is also known as Kauai Aadheenam and Kauai's Hindu Monastery. The temple is under construction. Spatika (Crystal) Lingam will be housed in it after its construction completes, till then crystal Lingam is placed in the Kadavul temple. The centerpiece of the temple will be a 700-pound, 39-inch-tall, uncut quartz crystal, believed to be the largest six-sided, single-pointed crystal ever found

Sri Trichy Mahaswamigal of Kailash Ashram, Bangalore, describes the temple's importance: "The Iraivan Temple is going to be to America what the temples of Chidambaram, Madurai, Rameshwaram, and other great Siva temples are to India."

Iraivan Temple was inspired by a vision of Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, on February 15, 1975, in which he saw Lord Shiva walking on the land where the temple is now located. It is intended as a place of pilgrimage for Hindus worldwide. Subramuniyaswami set three parameters for its design and construction:

that it follow traditional design according to the Saiva Āgama

that it be designed to last 1,000 years

that it be entirely carved by hand, without the use of any machinery.

The temple design was completed by V. Ganapati Sthapati in the late 1980s. Carving of the 4,000-plus blocks of granite commenced in 1990 at a worksite in Bangalore, India and then transported to temple site at Kauai. Beginning in 2001, the stone were shipped to Kauai and assembly begun by a team of silpi temple carvers under the direction of a master architect or sthapati. The 3.2 million pound temple is expected to be completed in a few years. Two Indian swamis: Sri Sivaratnapuri Mahaswamigal (popularly known as Tiruchi Swami) and Sri Balagangadharanatha are assistting with the project and in 1990 provided eleven acres of land outside Bangalore.

2. BAPS Shri Swami Narayan Mandir

Photo: The Buzz Magazines
Photo: The Buzz Magazines

Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS; IAST: Bocāsaṇvāsī Akṣar Puruṣottam Svāminārāyaṇa Saṇsthā), is a Hindu denomination within the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. It was formed in 1905 by Yagnapurushdas (Shastriji Maharaj) following his conviction that Swaminarayan remained present on earth through a lineage of gurus starting with Gunatitanand Swami.

Since 1971, under the leadership of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the BAPS has grown strongly. As of 2019, BAPS has 44 shikharbaddha mandirs and more than 1,200 mandirs worldwide that facilitate practice of this doctrine by allowing followers to offer devotion to the murtis of Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami, and their successors. BAPS mandirs also feature activities to foster culture and youth development. Many devotees view the mandir as a place for transmission of Hindu values and their incorporation into daily routines, family life, and careers.

BAPS also engages in a host of humanitarian and charitable endeavors through BAPS Charities, a separate non-profit aid organization which has spearheaded a number of projects around the world addressing healthcare, education, environmental causes, and community-building campaigns.

1. Malibu Hindu Temple

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Malibu Hindu Temple, a temple of the Hindu god Venkateswara, built in 1981, is located in the city of Calabasas near Malibu, California, in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is owned and operated by the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California. Built in the traditional South Indian style, it is frequented by followers of Hinduism in Southern California. It is one of the largest Hindu temples in the Western hemisphere.

The priests are situated and live on the grounds of the temple. The temple has many gatherings for ceremonies and provides numerous spaces for meditation and picnicking. It has a full stage for special cultural and Hindu programs.

The founding president of the Temple was Vasan Srinivasan, a civil engineer living in the Los Angeles area. Srinivasan was instrumental in raising funds from local families, overseeing construction and bringing the priests from India. Later, and until his death in July 2017, Indian American tax consultant Nadadur Vardhan served as the temple's president. The temple is generally managed by Hindu Temple society of Southern California.

The Hindu temple has two complexes – the upper complex with Lord Venkateswara as the presiding deity and the lower complex with Lord Shiva as the presiding deity. In addition to the presiding deity, both complexes have shrines for other deities.

In 1997, the temple was used in a small scene in the movie Beverly Hills Ninja starring Chris Farley, and in 1998 in a song in the Tamil film Jeans. In January 2006, the pop-star singer Britney Spears had her 4-month-old son blessed in a large ceremony by the Hindu priests of this temple. The event had worldwide coverage in the media.

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