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Situating Hinduism in Switzerland: A Case Study of the Hindu Temple within the House of Religions in Berne

28-226 | Friday, 1:30 p.m. | 137
Organizer: Simona Chaudhry-Ferraro

The creation of the unique House of Religions in the heart of Switzerland (Berne) is not only a case of emphasizing peaceful co-existence of various religions but also a remarkable tool to showcase the recent trends in the religious beliefs amid practices. It becomes truer when we study the environs of the recently consecrated Hindu temple therein. Majorly a relocated centre of Hindu believers of Tamil origin from Sri Lanka, the Hindu Hall not only dots the skyline of the Complex with its traditionally sculptured lofty tower but represents also the revolutionary undercurrent within the Tamil Diaspora, taking an innovative path away from the Hindu orthodoxy, particularly shedding old taboos related to gender and cast/class barriers, while initiating a path-breaking attempt to de-Sanskritise the rituals. The different Hindu communities in the vicinity are witnessing such transformation that includes the empowerment of women as reflected in the unique and most recent anointment of the first 4 female-priests. The poster presentation of this project (focusing on these new trends of Hinduism, its impact, acceptance/non-acceptance among the different Hindu communities in Switzerland) highlights such changes while illustrating the main features and Hindu practises taking place within this particular socio-religious context and architectural complex.