Top 10 most famous temples in England
Top 10 most famous temples in England

London, one of the most beautiful cities of the world is home to a majority of Indian Hindus. There are about 150 temples in London city, which indicates the importance of these places to the people of England. These temples are places of communal harmony where people of different cultures get to meet and worship there.

The temples are also places which provide a wide range of community services to the Hindus especially for weddings, language classes, religious events, festivals and even Yoga. The Swaminaryaran temple, Balaji temple and the Murugan temple are some of the prominent Hindu temples in London UK. Read on to explore these beautiful and famous temples.

The List of top 10 most famous temples in England

10. Shri Venkateswara Temple, England

9. Shree Geeta Bhawan, England

8. Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple, England

7. Sri Murugan Temple, London

6. Shri Sidhi Vinayagar Temple, England

5. Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir, London

4. Bhaktivedanta Manor, England

3. Radha Krishna Temple, London

2. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London

1. Shree Ghanapathy Temple, England

What are the most famous temples in England

10. Shri Venkateswara Temple, England

Photo: N Sethia Foundation
Photo: N Sethia Foundation

The Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple is one of the largest functioning Hindu temples in Europe. It is dedicated in the Vaishnava tradition to a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is located in Tividale, West Midlands, England between the suburbs of Tipton and Oldbury, northwest of Birmingham city. The temple was designed with inspiration from the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh, India. The temple was consecrated and opened to the general public in August 2006.

The primary deity worshiped at this temple is Venkateswara, a well known manifestation of Vishnu. Within the main temple complex are also shrines to his consort Padmavati(Alamelu). The temple also houses shrines to other major Hindu deities Hanuman, Shiva, Karthikeya, Ganesh, Ayappan and the Navagraha.

The temple runs the Balaji School for Culture & Education which provides spiritual and cultural foundation for children and arranges classes on Veda (Hindu scriptures), music etc. The temple has a large Community Hall. The temple also provides free Matrimonial service by helps one find a suitable marriage partner.

On site facilities include a large community centre, a gatehouse and a Gandhi Peace Centre. The temple operates annadhanam services, providing free meals for visitors funded by donations. Seeing up to 1500 visitors during the weekdays and 2500 visitors in the weekends, the temple does not only cater to the religious and spiritual requirements of Hindus. It receives over one hundred visits from special interest groups all across the UK and Europe, while playing an active role in supporting the community by welcoming school trips, hosting various cultural events and holding classes and teaching sessions in Vedic studies and Sanskrit for young people.

The temple is a non-profit organisation and is a recognized charity in the UK.

9. Shree Geeta Bhawan, England

Photo:  www.shreegeetabhawan.com
Photo: www.shreegeetabhawan.com

The Shree Geeta Bhawan Mandir is the first Hindu temple in the Midlands of England. It is situated at 107-117 Heathfield Road, on the corner of Brecon Road, on the border of the Handsworth and Lozells districts of Birmingham.

The building was the former St George's Presbyterian Church and was originally designed by J.P.Osborne in a cruciform shape in 1896, however was reopened as the Shree Geeta Bhawan Mandir in 1969.

Originally, services were held at 32 Hall Road, Birmingham B20 2BQ.

The Mandir has a daily Aarti at 11am and 7pm and has weekly Poojas for Balaji on Sunday mornings, and Durga Maa on Tuesday evenings.

8. Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple, England

Photo: Faith UK
Photo: Faith UK

The majority of Hindus came to the U.K in the 1950s, 60 and 70s in search of work and to meet the economic needs of their families back home. Most of the Hindus came to the U.K from Punjab and Gujarat in India and also from East Africa in the 1970s. In the beginning years, they faced severe hardship and struggle to make both ends meet, and lived in very poor conditions. It was a matter of survival. They worked very hard, often working long hours to establish themselves in the U.K. Most of them had young family’s. Once they were fully settled in the U.K, they felt the need to create a commonplace, where they could meet regularly to meet their Social, Cultural, and religious needs. They felt that if they didn’t take action then, they and their children may lose touch with their religion and culture.

In 1968 they formed the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford and adopted a constitution to promote Hinduism in the region and to safeguard the interest of the Hindu Community. They started looking for a suitable place to establish a Worship Hall. But all there efforts were unsuccessful, as they could not find a suitable place, which they could have converted into a worship hall or a Temple. Then the Hindu Community decided to establish a make shift temple in a House and so bought a house in Bradford 7 and set up a temple in a Terraced House. They then started going round Hindu community member’s houses to conduct Sunday Kirtan to raise funds for a bigger place.

In July 1973, the Hindu Culture Society of Bradford managed to buy the 311-321 Leeds Road. Planning permission was obtained from the Bradford Metropolitan Council to establish this Worship place for the Hindus of Bradford and the surrounding areas. The prominent members of the community such as Mr K.K Mittal, Mr Tirth Ram, Mr P.N Chawla, Mr Saxena and Mr Bholla gave personal guarantees to the bank to obtain the necessary loan to buy this building. The community members worked very hard to clean this building, to bring it to the standard, so that they could establish a place of Worship.

On 3rd of August 1974 Murti- Procession of deities took place around Bradford and Murti Sataphan was perfomed at 321 Leeds Road, Bradford, and the first Hindu Place of Worship was established in the city of Bradford. It was a very joyous occasion for the Hindu Community of Bradford. The new Temple was decorated with 5 beautiful paintings of renowned artist such as Shri Shanti Dutta and Prof P.B Lal, which was funded by the Yorkshire art council. As the Hindu community grew in and around Bradford, The Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford began to realise the need of a bigger Purpose built Temple for the growing needs of the community. From 1980 to 2000 various members of the Hindu Community served the Hindu Culture Society of Bradford in various capacities and worked hard to promote Hinduism and to safeguard the interest of the Hindu Community.

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7. Sri Murugan Temple, London

Photo: University of Roehampton
Photo: University of Roehampton

Location: 78 Church Road, Manor Park, London

The entrance to this Sri Murugan Temple is below an ornate 52 foot tower and opens to a spacious spiritual haven. Polished granite tiles from India cover the floor and reflect the light carefully designed to fall delicately around the deities adorned with glowing lamps, fruits and flowers.

The central granite shrine belongs to Lord Muruga, one of the two sons of Parvathi and Shiva. His brother, Ganesh, is on his right, and father Shiva on his left.

The stories of these deities are recorded in the Vedas, ancient Indian texts which have been revered on the subcontinent for around 8,000 years.

The shrines are carved from black granite shipped from India, the intricate designs crafted by traditional Hindu stonemasons who have beautifully sculpted the many forms of each deity on the outer walls of the shrines which tower through the ceiling to represent the meeting of mortal and divine.

Hinduism holds a belief in one supreme god, a formless god who can appear in various forms as saints, sages, devotees and in dreams, and therefore concedes the existence of several deities.

Lord Muruga is worshipped as the sole supreme lord who holds the three aspects of the holy trinity, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

The many faces of the supreme Being are manifested in deities housed in several small shrines in the marble walls of the temple. Each deity has a time when it is especially revered, for Puja (ritual worship), and the devoted pray to the different deities to assist them with their changing needs.

They bring gifts, such as fruit and flowers, which are blessed by the deities and returned by the priests, who gave us fruit and flowers as we left.

The building follows a symbolic design drawn by Indian architect Sri Muthiah Sthapathi and chief priest, Sri Naganathsivam Kurukkal in accordance with Hindu Temple principles.

6. Shri Sidhi Vinayagar Temple, England

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

Shri Sidhi Vinayagar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Elephant God Ganesha. It opened in 2011. The temple premises has idols of Ganesha, Murugan, Shiva, Durga, Bhairava and Navagrahas. A new bigger temple is being constructed in the same premises which includes various Hindu Gods.

It is situated in George Eliot Road, off Foleshill Road, Coventry CV1 4HT and is easily reachable by the local buses. Daily Poojas are performed.

Coventry pillaiyar (கொவென்றி பிள்ளையார்) is yet another name for Coventry Shri Sidhi Vinayagar Devasthanam situated in the heart of England. The temple was founded by local devotees who is very much love with Lord Ganesha. The annual festival of the Temple (தேவஸ்தானம்) is conducted every year beginning with flag hoisting and continued for 10 days. Highlight of this annual event is chariots festival (தேர் திருவிழா) where Lord Ganesha is taken on a beautifully decorated cart pulled by devotees around designated streets of Coventry.

The Hindhu Art College, a wing of Temple Devasthanam, conducts a regular art and Language classes. They also host various community cultural events and attract all communities.

5. Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir, London

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

The Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandiris the name of two Hindu temples in London, one situated off the Ealing Road in Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent and the other in Whipps Cross near Leytonstone. They are run by charity Shri Vallabh Nidhi UK.

The temples follow Sanatan Dharma, and in common with other temples called Sanatan which is the true name which was later referred to as Hindu.

Leytonstone temple

The temple in Leytonstone is called Shri Nathji Mandir and was inaugurated in June 1980. It has the following deities - Shri Ram, Shrinathji, Shiv Parivaar, Amba Mataji, Jalaram Bapa and Hanumanji.

Wembley temple

It was opened in the Summer of 2010, took 14 years to build, and is made entirely of imported Indian limestone. It was constructed according to the scriptures of the Hindu holy texts, and so contains no steel supports. Its site has an area of 2.4 acres (9,700 m2).

Many of the temple's component pieces were hand carved in the town of Sola, in the Indian state of Gujarat - before being flown to Britain and assembled. There were 41 marble statues of deities made in India especially for the mandir. The interior is elaborately decorated with carvings on the pillars and walls, as well as the numerous shrines with painted figures of Hindu deities. Some famous spiritual leaders and forms of Gods from other religions are featured in the carvings, including one of Mother Teresa and the Sikh Guru Nanak. At its highest point, the temple is 66 ft (20m) tall.

The temple has the following deities: Shri Ganeshji, Shri Sahajanand Swami, Shri Amba Mataji, Shri Simandhar Swami, Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Ram Darbar, Shri Shrinathji, Shri Tirupati Balaji, Shri Shiv Parivar, Shri Jalaram Bapa, Shri Hanumanji.

The temple was built using funds raised by the charity Shri Vallabh Nidhi UK (SVNUK).

Shri Vallabh Nidhi UK

The charity which runs the temples was founded by Vaishnav Hindus in London and one of its objects is "Advance the Hindu religion in accordance with the teaching of Shri Vallabh" (Vallabha Acharya), the founder of the Pushtimarg sect. However, the temples are intended to be ecumenical. The Charity was founded by Late Shri Balmukund P Parikh & Shri Ramanbhai Patel of the six gham patidar community with the blessings of Krishna Shankar Shashriji (Dadaji).

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4. Bhaktivedanta Manor, England

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Bhaktivedanta Manor is a Gaudiya Vaishnava temple set in the Hertfordshire countryside of England, in the village of Aldenham near Watford. The Manor is owned and run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), better known as the Hare Krishna movement. It is ISKCON's largest property in the United Kingdom, and one of the most frequently visited Radha Krishna temples in Europe. The house is listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England.

Previously known as Piggott's Manor, the property was donated to the Hare Krishna movement in February 1973 by former Beatle George Harrison, after the Radha Krishna Temple in central London had become inadequate to house the growing number of devotees. The donation included 17 acres of land, following which the estate was extended through the acquisition of neighbouring properties. Harrison had a close relationship with ISKCON's founder-acharya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and visited him at the Manor on several occasions.

Beginning in 1981, ISKCON was engaged in a campaign to save Bhaktivedanta Manor from closure as a public temple, as the popularity of the site led to increased traffic through Aldenham. After a series of court hearings and appeals, the Department of the Environment granted permission for the building of a road bypassing the village in 1996. With the improved access, the Manor hosts up to 60,000 visitors for annual religious festivals such as Janmashtami.

3. Radha Krishna Temple, London

Photo: TempleTurohit
Photo: TempleTurohit

London Radha Krishna Temple (also Radha Krsna Temple), which has been the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the United Kingdom since the late 1960s. It was founded in Bury Place, Bloomsbury, by six devotees from San Francisco's Radha Krishna Temple, who were sent by ISKCON leader A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to establish a UK branch of the movement in 1968. The Temple came to prominence through George Harrison of the Beatles publicly aligning himself with Krishna consciousness. Among the six initial representatives in London, devotees Mukunda, Shyamsundar and Malati all went on to hold senior positions in the rapidly growing ISKCON organisation.

As Radha Krishna Temple (London), the Temple devotees recorded an album of devotional music with Harrison, which was issued on the Beatles' Apple record label in 1971. Among these recordings were "Hare Krishna Mantra", an international hit single in 1969 that helped popularise the Maha Mantra in the West, and "Govinda". With Harrison's financial support, the Radha Krishna Temple secured its first permanent premises, at Bury Place in central London, then acquired a country property in Hertfordshire, known as Bhaktivedanta Manor. In 1979, following legal proceedings over the use of the Bury Place site, the central London temple moved to a new premises at Soho Square.

2. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (also commonly known as the Neasden Temple) is a Hindu temple in Neasden, London, England. Built entirely using traditional methods and materials, the Swaminarayan mandir has been described as being Britain's first authentic Hindu temple. It was also Europe's first traditional Hindu stone temple, as distinct from converted secular buildings. It is a part of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) organisation and was inaugurated in 1995 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The temple complex also consists of a permanent exhibition entitled "Understanding Hinduism" and a cultural centre housing an assembly hall, gymnasium, bookshop, and offices.

The Mandir and Haveli were built and funded entirely by the Hindu community, and the entire project spanned five years, although the construction itself was completed in two-and-a-half years. Building work began in August 1992. On 24 November 1992, the temple recorded the biggest-ever concrete-pour in the UK, when 4,500 tons were laid in 24 hours to create a foundation mat 6 ft (1.8m) thick. The first stone was laid in June 1993; two years later, the building was complete.

The mandir was cited in Guinness World Records 2000 as follows:

"Biggest Hindu Temple outside India: The Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London, UK, is the largest Hindu temple outside India. It was built by Pramukh Swami, a 92-year-old Indian sadhu, and is made of 2,828 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone and 2,000 tonnes of Italian marble, which was first shipped to India to be carved by a team of 1,526 sculptors. The temple cost £12 million to build."

However, since 2000 it has been surpassed in size by other BAPS mandirs elsewhere. The mandir was built and funded entirely by the Hindu community. The entire project spanned five years although the mandir construction itself was completed in two-and-a-half years. Building work began in August 1992. In November 1992, the temple recorded the largest concrete-pour in the UK, when 4,500 tons were put down in 24 hours to create a foundation mat 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) thick. The first stone was laid in June 1993; two years later, the building was complete.

Overview

June 1970: The first BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in the UK was opened in a converted disused church in Islington, North London, by Yogiji Maharaj.

1982: Having outgrown the temple, the congregation moved from the Islington temple to a small, former warehouse in Neasden.

1990: BAPS was again in search of a building that could cope with the growing congregation, and plans for the present temple were made.

1995: They moved to their present temple, built on the site of a disused truck warehouse opposite the previous temple. The old temple building was retained and converted into Shayona, an Indian grocery shop and vegetarian restaurant.

1. Shree Ghanapathy Temple, England

Photo: Londonist
Photo: Londonist

Shree Ghanapathy Temple, Wimbledon, is a Hindu temple in south-west London, England, that was established in the 1980s. The main deity in the temple is of Lord Ganesha. There are also deities of Goddess Durga (Parvati), Lord Hanuman, Krishna etc. The Sai Mandir was opened in 1981 and is a prayer hall dedicated to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

It was the first fully consecrated Hindu temple in Europe (1981).

During the temple's early years, the realisation came that there was an urgent need to educate the younger generation about Hinduism. Furthermore, the temple wanted the children to fully understand the faith at a deeper level than previously. Therefore, the Sai Mandir has been running classes for many years, teaching the children spiritual education, Sanskrit prayers, how to sing Bhajans (devotional hymns) in addition to learning about other religions too. Voluntary activities take place in affiliation with local authorities and Age Link groups.

The temple provides classes dwelling on teachings of Hinduism, music and dance classes, and yoga to name a few.

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