Lord Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. According to Shaivism, one of the major doctrines within contemporary Hinduism, Lord Shiva prevails over other Hindu deities for his strength and poise. Lord Shiva creates, destroys, protects and transforms the universe hence he is the most revered god among the famous Hindu trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara). Goddess Parvati, the spouse and equal complementary partner of Lord Shiva is believed to be the source of his energy and creative power. There are countless temples of Lord Shiva, both big and small, scattered across the Indian subcontinent but there are innumerable temples dedicated to him that are found outside India too. Here are the names:
Prambanaan temple in Java, Indonesia:
The ruler of Mataram Kingdom, Rakai Pikatan built the temple in the 9th century. It is both the largest temple of South East Asia and the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. The name ‘Prambanaan’ is derived from ‘Param Brahman’ which stands for ‘Supreme Brahmin’ in Javanese.
Pashupatinath temple in Kathmanu, Nepal:
The name Pashupatinath means Lord of the animals. One of the oldest temples in Kathmandu, this is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams. The temple was built by Jayadeva back in 753 AD. The Nepalese Pagoda style architecture despite being a Hindu temple is the main attraction of this.
Katasraj temple in Chakwal, Pakistan:
Near Lahore in Pakistan, the temple is located in the Chakwal district of Punjab. The temple came in existence during the days of Mahabharata and it is there ever since. The temple is famous because it was the refuge of the Pandava brothers during their days of exile.
Munneswaram temple in Munneswaram, Sri Lanka:
Since the days of Ramayana, this temple existed. According to the legends, Lord Rama prayed here after defeating Ravana. The festival of Navrati is commemorated here in a grand manner.
Arulmigu Sri Raja Kaliamman temple in Johor Baru, Malaysia:
The temple was constructed back in 1992. This is one of the oldest temples in Johor Baru, Malaysia. The temple prides on its creative, intricate and neat glass work. More, the sanctum that sits Lord Shiva over it, has over 3,00000 Rudraksha beads pasted onto the backside wall.
Mukti Gupteshwar temple in Minto, Australia:
In the year 1999, the then king of Nepal, Bir Bikram Shah Dev, gifted the 13th and the last Jyothirlinga to Australia. The Linga came along with 7996 hymns arranged in eight volumes distinguishedly to be sung in praise of the deity. The temple’s foundation was laid on Shivratri in 1999 in Minto, a suburb of Sydney. This is the only cave temple in history that is man made.
Shiva Vishnu temple in Livermore, California:
This temple is one of the biggest temples in Bay area. There are deities of innumerable gods and goddesses such as Shiva, Ganesha, Durga, Aiyappa, Lakshmi that grace this temple. Most of the idols were donated by the Tamil Nadu government in the year 1985. The tranquil atmosphere of the temple is the magnet to many devotees.
Shiva temple in Zurich, Switzerland:
This is a small temple located on the first floor of a building. In the ‘garbha griha’ behind the Shiva Lingam of this well maintained temple, there are Nataraja and Sahkthi. The sacred festival of Shivratri is celebrated here with pomp and grandeur.
This is amazing to know that there are temples dedicated to Lord Shiva outside India too. All hail the supreme god!