The temple as a symbol of Hindu identity in America?

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For overseas Hindu communities, the temple became an important symbol of ethnic regrouping. From the indentured expatriates of sugar colonies of the colonial era through the recent, highly educated, Asian Indian immigrants to America, the Hindu temple has served as a place of worship and, even more importantly, as a symbol of heightened cultural identity. Although the role of the temple in the Hindu regrouping in the diaspora has been previously examined, this paper reexamines this process in America in light of new data. Preliminary results indicate that the Hindu temple is not only an important religious focus for American Hindus, but also has generated links between Indian and expatriate Hindus in new ways. In fact, vigorous temple building activity among all Hindu diasporic communities could lead to a renaissance in temple building and possibly in Hinduism itself. We examine the Hindu temple as a component of the Hindu regrouping process in the postindustrial American context.

Original Citation

Bhardwaj, S.M., Rao, M.N. (1998). The temple as a symbol of Hindu identity in America? Journal of Cultural Geography, 17(2), 125-143. https://doi.org/10.1080/08873639809478324