Hindus in Kenya
March 27, 2007, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, hinduism, Trips

The Hindu heritage of Kenya
Minakshi Ajay

Click here to view gallery, ‘Hindu Kenya’:

Most visitors to Kenya want to experience the country’s world famous wildlife. A land of great contrasts such as mountain ranges, forests, lakes, desert as well as the coastal areas, Kenya’s wilderness areasare famous world wide. The name Kenya has become synonymous with the great wilds of Africa.

But there is also another side of Kenya unknown to most visitors and
that is its rich Hindu temples and Sikh Gurudwaras which form
well-known landmarks in each and every town and city in Kenya.

Kenya has a sizeable Hindu population [including Sikhs & Jains also] of approximately 2.5 million, most of them descendants of the East African Railways labourers who were brought over by the British during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the British colonialists also ruled Kenya and the rest of the East African region. Many of the labourers, rather than voyage back to the Indian subcontinent, simply settled in Kenya, and slowly brought with them a host of hopefuls willing to start afresh. Many Hindus took up Law as their profession and fought alongside the Kenyan Mau Mau Organisation, who committed themselves to lead a violent fight to drive out the British during the 1930s until 1963. Kenyan fighters such as Jomo Kenyatta had legal advisers who were Hindus as well as Sikhs.

The Kenya of today is very different to that of the early 1900s.
Indian businesses have been contributing to the Kenyan economy in a very substantial way over the years, and even today they are thriving with construction of roads and buildings being mainly handled by Hindus and Sikhs.

My recent trip to Kenya in January of this year was an absolute
eye-opener to the fact that Hinduism has gained immense strength in Kenya over the years. Nairobi, the capital city, alone has six Swaminarayan temples, five Shiva temples, two Ram & Jalaram temples, two temples dedicated to Mata Amba [Goddess Durga], one Gayatri temple, three Sanatan Dharma temples, one Murugan [Kartikeya] temple, one Hare Krishna temple and
many others belonging to different sects and communities, as well as the Raj Yoga Centre of the Brahma Kumaris.

Besides other Hindu organisations, the Hindu Council of Kenya which was initially formed by 80,000 Hindus associated with the Kenyan Government, works on projects aimed at furthering the cause of Sanatan Dharma within Kenya.

Nairobi’s suburb Parklands also has a Hindu shrine for shoppers to
walk in and pay their obeisance to the deities while out shopping in
the famous Diamond Plaza shopping complex. There are also several Sikh Gurudwaras built and run by the Ramgarhia Sikh community of Kenya, with the main Gurudwara that is in Makindu which is worshipped at by all Hindus and Sikhs along the ‘Mombasa – Nairobi highway’. Travellers to and from Mombasa often stop here to worship and admire the beautiful views of Mt. Kilimanjaro that can be seen from the top of this Gurudwara.

But out of all of them, perhaps my favourite temple in Nairobi has to be the Shree Sanatan Dharma Sabha Mandir where I got married. The temple was built in 1994 in a suburb of Nairobi called Spring Valley. Thirty-four beautiful Murtis of the Hindu Pantheon as well as that of Guru Nank were brought from Jaipur, India. Pran-Pratishtha or inauguration of these Murtis was done by 71 learned priests of Kenya during very colourful ceremonies held between 16th to 20th June 1994. On 20th June, 1994 the doors of the temple were opened to the devotees.

Outside within the complex, it has a large main hall at the far end
for functions such as Navratri & Diwali festivals as well as marriage
ceremonies, a Yagya Shala in the middle where my marriage ceremony was held, and immediately behind it is a typically styled temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara [Lord Vishnu] beautifully designed resembling the great architectures found in South India.

There is so much more to write about with regards to the fascinating
Hindu and Sikh heritage of Kenya, what I have written above is just a glimpse. To sum up, I would like to give a strong bit of advise to all
of you: if you visit Kenya, make sure it is not just for a wildlife
tour – also visit some of the great temples which have been built on
Kenyan soil. You won’t be disappointed.


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very interesting.

Comment by Anonymous

i wish to all hindu

Comment by sambhu

Thanks for writing on this. I was searching the net ‘hindu temples Kenya’ and did not find anything until I found your blog page. Do you know if any of the temples/gurudwara’s have websites? Thank you. My email id is jennifer at alaivani dot com

Comment by Jennifer

Hindu cable TV available by MITSUMINET.. email me for further details. {skisia02@yahoo.com}
subscription ranging from 928/- to 3999/- per month.
Thank you!

Comment by sharon

It was nice of you to write about Indians and Indian culture in Kenya. I was looking for Sai baba Temple in Kenya, could you please advice if any of these temples possess Sai Baba’s murti as well.

Thanks in advance. My email id is sugandha.myspace@gmail.com

Comment by Sugandha

Namaste !
Vey informative site.Ilive in Durban ,South Africa.We are a population of 1.2 million.We celebrate al the Hindu festivals here.I will surely visit the mandirs in Kenya.
South Africa

Comment by Vejeand Dessai

some one must make a good photographs to motivate at people around the world. .. … like me many of might be reading such stories first time .. … ….

Comment by Anonymous

I am yet again impressed to read your script ,on temples and Indian culture in Kenya,We have similar Indian society here with about 1.2 million Indians, here ,Hindi,Tamils,Gujerati,Telugu,We have beautiful mandirs and our culture we still practice from our arrival in1860.Our music station is Hindvani and LotusFM which you can audio stream.My address is Vejeand Dessai,10 Summer ridge Road,Summerhils,Summerveld,Assagay,Durban,Kwazulu-Natal,South Africa,3624.Phone:0027 31 7691168 and +27 833677721.I have a ceramic business which does designs on tiles namely Indian God pictures eg.Ganesga,Durga,Shiva and display plates ,vases,clocks,etc
Thank you

Comment by vejeand dessai

email for-Vejeand Dessai,Durban,South Africa is:tilecraftkzn@gmail.com

Comment by vejeand dessai

I’m more than happy to discover this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new information on your web site.

Comment by Asiaroom Bali Hotel Reservation

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