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Hindus/Hindu prayer room


Good afternoon,

I'm an architecture student from the Architecture School of Lisbon (FA UTL) and I am currently working on my masters degree which is about religious architecture, more precisely a multi-faith centre. This centre is supposed to be a step into inter-religious dialogue and mutual respect. One could call it a center for inter-faith tolerance and peace.
This building offers a space to accommodate different religions for seminars, conventions, gatherings, or any other event and respects the different traditions and costumes, therefore, it also offers the visitors the possibility of a praying/meditating space appropriate to their beliefs. It's this part of the project I need guidance with.

The information I have acquired so far is confusing and hard to summarize, so, with that in mind, I am using this e-mail to call for your help regarding some difficult questions, in my view, that might not be as difficult for you to answer, since you are an expert:

1. What are the needs for a hindu sacred/worship space? Physical or otherwise.
(For example: contact with nature, sun orientation, altars  silence, any other relevant symbols or physical needs)

2. Do these elements/needs diverge from one type/practice of hinduism to a different one ?

3. What is the difference between a hindu temple and a prayer room? Can a prayer room be collective or is it strictly for praying at home?

4. I would like to create a space where a number of hindus could practice their daily rituals for a short period of time (during the time they would be visiting the multi-faith center), like, a week, at most. It should be integrated in the building so the traditional aesthetics of a hindu temple, especially the exterior decorations and shape would be difficult to obtain. Could it be a collective prayer room? If not, what would be the best option here? And following what principles to create this space?

4. I believe there are different variations and practices of hinduism. Can these co-exist in the same worship space?

5. If not, could they do it in the same space only in different schedules?

The answer to these questions can be of a great help to me and my project, specially since I am having trouble finding reliable and direct information regarding this subject.

Thank you very much, I appreciate any collaboration given regarding this theme.
Looking forward for your answer,
Best wishes,

Ana Maria

Dear Ana

Your queries would need a long personal interaction to clarify your queries.

let me try a bit:
Hindu Temple is a place of worship (with rituals), prayer and meditation. Its normally a place for collective practice. One needs both a spiritual and physical environment. You may have both in one place, a place of worship as well as a prayer room. You may also have a Prayer room without a place for worship of a God.

For a place of worship, you need to have  idols of Gods  and you can not relocate as and when  you wish to use that place for other purpose

I suggest you visit a known Hindu temple and have a conversation with the priest.

best wishes

Dr Garain  


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