Leaving the bright lights of the big city and travelling into a more rural area of Central Ohio called Powell, you’ll find something unexpected – the Bharatiya Hindu Temple. In a large brick building built specifically for them, the unorthodox design of the temple reveals much about Hindu culture in America. Unlike temples in India devoted to one specific god, the Bharatiya temple is built in an octagon shape to honor several gods. Temples in India might typically have a large tower attached to the building, but due to zoning laws in Powell, Bharatiya lacks this. Most importantly, the temple is not just a place for religion; it teaches culture and language as well.
“It shows harmony and peace. It teaches values for how to live better. It is very disciplined.” – Nagesh Manne
The Hindu religion differs in many ways from the dominant American religion of Christianity. Hindus believe in a god with multiple names, and some believe in multiple gods. They also celebrate hundreds of Hindu holidays, and utilize yoga for a “One Reality.” The fluidity of the religion makes it hard to pinpoint a single “textbook definition.” Most Hindus, however, generally believe in the authority of the Vedas and the Brahmans, reincarnation, and the law of karma. A huge part of the Hindu religion is festivals. The sounds and scenery of these festivals truly represent Hinduism – colorful, whimsical, and musical.