The practise of Hinduism in Botswana is concentrated in and around Gaborone and Selebi-Phikwe. The community of Hindus began to form in the early 20th century with the beginning of immigration from India to Botswana. Most Hindus in Botswana are of Indian descent.
The 2001 census of Botswana listed approximately 3,000 Hindus. Members of Hindu community estimated that these figures significantly understated their respective numbers.
Hindu temples in Botswana
With the growth of the community, a number of region-based community associations have sprungup. There is already a Hindu temple in Gaborone, and another in Selebi-Phikwe. A gurudwara is also been built in the capital city. Plans have been made for the construction of a Swaminarayan temple, a Sai Baba Centre, a Venkateswara Temple and an ISKCON Centre at various sites in Botswana.
The following are the major Hindu temples in Botswana:
Hindu Temple, Gaborone
The Hindu Temple in Gaborone is popularly known as the "Hindu Hall". It is situated behind the "caltex" filling station, that is located adjoining the "Maru-a-Pula Robots". All the major Hindu festivals (Maha Shivaratri, Rama Navami, Dussehra, Diwali etc.) are observed in this temple.
Botswana Hindu Charities Trust (BHCT) has built a Hindu Temple in Gaborone, Botswana, in the classical South Indian architectural style. This Temple is one of its kinds in the Southern African region and became a cultural attraction in Gaborone, after earning the people's admiration for the architectural and the sculptural beauty. The Temple has cost over Rs. 2 crores up to this stage.
The Temple has 10 Sanctum Santorum to house Lord Balaji and his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi as the presiding deity, Lord Ganesha, Lord Anjaneya, Lord Siva, Matha Vaishnodevi, Lord Ayyapa, Lord Muruga and Navagrahas. All Mulavar vigrahas and Utsav Murthies were imported from India. The doors for Maha Mandap and Rajagopuram were made and imported from Kerala.
The doors of Maha Mandap depicts the scenes from Krishna Leela and the doors of Raja Gopuram depicts the Dasa Avathars. The carvings on these doors were so beautiful and competing with the sculptural beauty of the temple.
The Kumbhabhishekam of this temple has been performed on Sunday 16 September as planned. In fact the ceremonies started on 9 September and concluded with Kumbhabhishekam.
There were ten Kalasams installed and ten priests from India, Dubai and Gaborone were performing all related poojas. First Shri. Varatharaja Bhatter (Senior Priest, BHCT Temple) performed the abishekam for the five Kalasams atop of the Raja Gopuram. A crane was used since the Raja Gopuram was about 50 feet tall. Afterwards Abishekam for all other Kalasams atop of other Sanctum Santorum were performed. Mr. Vishnu Hade, The High Commissioner of India for Botswana graced the occasion. Mr. Manhar Mooney released a souvenir in commemoration of the Kumbhabhishekam.
Botswana Indian Associations
- ART OF LIVING CENTERS - LOBATSE, Motovac (Pty) Ltd, P.O. Box 281, LOBATSE, BOTSWANA.
- ART OF LIVING CENTRE - GABORONE, P.O. Box 1213 Peba Close, Plot 5612, GABORONE, BOTSWANA
- Hinduism in Bostwana as reported in The Hindu
- Hindu Temples in Botswana
- Should Batswana embrace cremation as new culture ? 7 August, 2001
- Indian Associations in Botswana
- The Art of Living Botswana Chapter was started in 1996