Indian religions

We have visited two temples in Kampala – one of Jainism and one of Hinduism.  So far we have not been able to learn much about the temples but have found them very interesting.  There are currently more than 12,000 people of Indian origin living in Uganda, but this is a far cry from their heyday. In the late 1890s, over 30,000 Indians, mostly Sikhs, were brought on 3 year contracts to build the Uganda Railway from Mombasa  to Kampala.  Some died, while others returned to India after the end of their contracts, but around 7,000 chose to stay. Over time, these Indians became very prosperous and dominated the entire economy, which caused resentment among the African population.  In 1972, the then President of Uganda, Idi Amin, ordered the expulsion of his country’s Indian minority, giving them 90 days to leave Uganda.  In recent years they have gradually been returning.

The older of the temples is of the Jainism religion.  This Indian religion prescribes a path of non-violence toward all living beings.  It is a very ancient religion coming out of India 9th to 6th century BC.  We do not know when the temple was built but we do know that the sand-stone building was made without the use of a single nail.  It is a beautiful building with intricate architectural features.

Swaminarayan (1781–1830) is the central figure in a modern sect of Hinduism known as the Swaminarayan Faith.   The Swaminarayan community in Kampala acquired a good house in 1996 and started renovations to accommodate a place for worship.  The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir(temple) was constructed with the use of only stones and bricks and without steel bars. It has steps leading up to its entrance so that as one moves from step to step, he/she leaves behind sin and reaches near to God.  The socio-spiritual activities of the Swaminarayan faith aim to inspire a better and happier individual , family and society.

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