Hindu Communities Abroad

Vasudha Narayanan

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Hindu Communities Abroad


For more than 2,000 years, Hindu communities have flourished outside the subcontinent of India. Despite the prohibitions against traveling across the ocean found in many Hindu texts, Indians settled in Malaysia and Singapore probably before the first millennium CE. Trading communities seem to have been set up in Cambodia by the first century CE. In the nineteenth century, indentured workers arrived in Fiji and in the Caribbean. By the time indentured labor was abolished in 1919, there were more than 60,000 Indians in Fiji. Hindus, who had come to work on plantations, settled in Uganda and other African countries in the early twentieth century and eventually became successful business entrepreneurs. Many kinds of Hindu communities exist in the United States. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of Hindu communities that settled outside of India is the tremendous time, monies, and energy expended on the building of temples. Just as the Hindu tradition appropriated and utilized print and audiovisual technologies, the Internet revolution has also been used to help articulate traditions and create communities.

Keywords: Hindus; India; United States; temples; Internet; Fiji; Uganda

Article.  3339 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations ; Hinduism

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