Om Hindu Mandir

Glasgow, Scotland

Om Hindu Mandir: representing multicultural modern-day Glasgow.

Discovering the Om Hindu Mandir

Om Hindu Mandir is a temple in Glasgow welcoming worshippers and those interested in the Hindu faith to express their devotion and satisfy their curiosities. Through its historic neoclassical facade, the temple is a symbol of the city’s modern-day multicultural identity, blending traditional Hindu elements with Glaswegian architecture.

While the exterior retains its original form, the interior exudes a hallowed charm, adorned with niches for Hindu deities and spaces for worship. Today, the Om Hindu Mandir acts as the centre of religious devotion and community gatherings in Glasgow.

Transforming Om Hindu Mandir

The building in which Om Hindu Mandir is now housed was originally erected in the 1850s as the Queen’s Rooms for merchant David Bell. Designed by architect Charles Wilson, the Queen’s Rooms were typical of Classic architecture with Masonic symbols, reflecting Bell's affiliation with the Masons.

Renowned sculptors John Mossman and Walter Buchan adorned the building with intricate friezes and pediments, incorporating references to Bell, Wilson, and even Bell’s wife with the inclusion of the Greek goddess, Minerva.

Over time, the Queen’s Rooms evolved into the Om Hindu Mandir, undergoing significant interior remodelling to incorporate traditional Hindu features while preserving the original exterior structure.

Distinctive features such as ornate doors adorned with elephants, peacocks, and the sacred Om symbolise the temple's embrace of Hindu spirituality and culture. Despite its transformation, the building retains its historical significance, recognised as a Listed Building.

Om HIndu Mandir 1
- Tom Parnell

Om Hindu Mandir’s Creation

The roots of the Hindu Mandir Glasgow trace back to the late 1960s when a group of Hindu women initiated Bhajan/Kirtan sessions, driven by a vision to establish a sacred space for worship. Through diligent fundraising efforts, the foundation for the temple was laid, culminating in the acquisition of the Great George Street building in 1971.

Under the banner of the Hindu Mandir Sabha, the temple gained official recognition, eventually undergoing its final transformation and inauguration in 2006, a pivotal moment for Glasgow's Hindu community.

The creation of Om Hindu Mandir in Glasgow represented the collective aspirations of the Hindu community, who had always hoped for a sacred space in accordance with their Vedic traditions. Former President and Chair of the Executive Committee, along with dedicated individuals, played pivotal roles in overcoming challenges and making the Mandir a reality.

After celebrating their accomplishment, the focus then shifted to expanding the Mandir’s offerings and services to make room for a Hindu Community Centre as well.

Worship at Om Hindu Mandir

At its core, rooted in ancient Vedic teachings and customs, Hinduism is the expression of a deep understanding of life's principles, summarised in the ideals of Karma, Dharma, and Yagna. These philosophies provide a framework for daily morality and guide worshippers in their pursuit of spiritual fulfilment.

The Om Hindu Mandir is also home to an array of deities. From Ganesh to Kali Mata, and Radha Krishna to Saraswati, these idols inspire devotion and reverence among the faithful.

Om Hindu Mandir
- Jon-Marc Creaney

Within the temple, Hindus can perform their daily pujas; lighting lamps, ringing bells, burning incense or camphor, and offering flowers and fruits to express reverence and gratitude. There are also scripture readings and Aarti ceremonies, accompanied by hymns and prayers, held within the temple each day.

Central to the temple's spiritual practice is Prasad, holy offerings given to the worshippers. The worship of the Tulsi plant, fasting, and the wearing of bindis, tilaks, or tikas on the forehead are among the temple’s traditions.

As a sign of the inclusive nature of Hinduism, the temple welcomes devotees from various backgrounds and beliefs.

Diwali at Om HIndu Mandir

One particularly significant event held annually at the Om Hindu Mandir, is Diwali, an authentic delivery of India's festive spirit. Organised by a group of young entrepreneurs and students, this event is held over two days and features traditional rituals and prayer ceremonies. Transcending the Mandir’s walls it unites Hindus worldwide in their shared devotion of their faith.

Amidst the festivities, Deepak Shashtri and Pandit Abhishek Joshi, the temple priests, highlight the values of love, sacrifice, and harmony embodied by Lord Rama. And how they have this uniquely transformative potential to infer global peace and prosperity.

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