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Sonam Pandey | HENB | Antananarivo | July 26, 2022:: A long awaited grand Hindu temple was inaugurated on Tuesday in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, a very large island located in the Indian Ocean with a population of over 26 million lying off the southeastern coast of Africa. Though there is a little presence of Hindus in Madagaskar (Christianity 51%, Islam 40%, Traditional faiths 6%, No religion 2%, Others 1%); actually Hinduism was introduced to Madagascar through Gujarati people immigrating from the Saurashtra region of India in the late 18th century. Most Hindus in Madagascar speak Gujarati or Hindi at home.
Hindu Devotees poured in at the opening ceremony of the temple which witnessed unveiling of statues of various Hindu deities, aarti and the singing of devotional songs.
Indian Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros Abhay Kumar graced the occasion, local media reported.
The newly-built temple is the first Hindu temple in Antananarivo. The long-awaited temple by the Hindu diaspora in Madagascar was under construction for a long period.
Many of them are followers of the Hindu religion and it is for the first time that a grand Hindu temple has been built in Antananarivo by the Hindu Samaj. The other major cities of Madagascar such as Mahajunga and Antsiranana, however, do have small Hindu temples.
Gujarati diaspora in Madagascar is spread all across the country. The new temple will help them to get together more often and strengthen the spirit of the community.
Earlier, on the occasion of Navratri in 2020, a grand Hindu temple hall was inaugurated in Antananarivo.
Indians arrived in Madagascar in the late 18th century, mostly from Gujarat, in small boats to engage in Indian ocean trade and since then have greatly contributed to the development of trade and commerce in Madagascar and also between India and Madagascar.
India is a key trade partner of Madagascar with bilateral trade reaching about 400 million USD in 2020-21.
The ties between the two Indian Ocean neighbours are growing in all spheres. The two countries share healthy and strong ties which are on an upswing and several MoUs in key areas such as health, education, culture, information, and travel have been signed between the two countries.
The Hindus in Madagascar & Comoros and in entire Africa sub-continent are very serious to follow their own pride and practice through Sanatan Hindu Dharma keeping the thoughts and roots in India intact.
__Inputs from ANI.