In Trinidad and Tobago, Hinduism is the second most-practiced religion behind Christianity. Although it came to the country in the early 19th century, the religion found a strong base. The followers have built many Hindu temples in Trinidad and Tobago some of which are quite impressive.
Standing tall over the village of Carapichaima, Dattatreya Yogi Center has been open since 1986. The most striking feature of the temple is the statue of Hanuman, a warrior deity in Hinduism. Hanuman was very brave in his fight against evil according to many legends.
The reason why the statue of Hanuman is highly important is the fact that it is 25 meters tall. This makes Hanuman the tallest Hanuman statue outside India. Hanuman’s impressive height is a symbol for Hindus as it represents reaching higher planes of faith.
Temple In the Sea
The spread of Hinduism in Trinidad goes back to the Indian workers brought by the colonizer British. One of those workers was Sewdass Sadhu. While working for an estate owner, Sadhu built a small temple but since he did not own the land the British ordered him to destroy it. Sadhu refused, so they fined him and sent him to jail.
When he got out, Sadhu thought that the sea had no owners. Therefore, he built a new temple on the sea by himself. Although the temple lost its popularity after Sadhu’s death, the Hindus of Trinidad reconstructed it as a celebration of Sadhu’s dedication.
The Shiva Mandir, which is on Trinidad National Heritage List, marks a change in the socio-economic state of the Indian population in Trinidad. As the original indentured servants gained more money and status, they started to own houses and buildings and live in better places.
In one of those places, Reform Village, they built a place of worship which was the first one in the area. Shiva Mandir is one of the few temples which protected its original layout and architectural style in Trinidad and Tobago.
Paschim Kasshi or the St. James Hindu Mandir, is one of the most important Hindu temples in Trinidad. It is located in the capital of the country, Port of Spain, which is a very busy and loud city. The temple’s calming outlook contrasts the capital’s never-sleeping structure.
The temple was built in 1962 and specifically in Trinidad and Tobago’s architectural style. It also received many idols from India made just for the temple. Besides the idols, there are trees around the temple which are spiritually important for the Hindu culture.