Hindu Temple of Wisconsin: Redesigning Temple Architecture and Redefining Traditions

By Neel Kamal Chapagain.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper studies the building of the first Hindu temple in Wisconsin. The design process and the design and use of the temple suggest that the temple building process is not only a religiously or culturally motivated activity, but also a much needed community building activity in Diaspora. Though the temple is primarily built by Hindus from India, it eventually draws Hindus from other immigrant groups as well as non-Hindus. More importantly, it also serves as a platform for multicultural dialogue in a global and plural society. Based on the author’s personal observations, interviews with some key people, including the designer architect and a few Hindu visitors, this paper illustrates that through the necessary adaptations and innovations in design, the Hindu temple results in redesigning the temple architecture as well as redefining the traditions in the Diaspora.

Keywords: Hindu Temple, Temple Design Process, Hindu Diaspora

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.93-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.207MB).

Dr. Neel Kamal Chapagain

Ph.D. Candidate, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Neel Kamal Chapagain prepared this paper while he was a Ph.D. candidate in architecture at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (received Ph.D. in December 2011), and associate lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He holds an Architecture Doctorate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a B.Arch. from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. His research interests are cultural and environmental issues in architecture, participatory design and planning, and heritage conservation.