Hinduism in Azerbaijan

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Hinduism in Azerbaijan has been tied to cultural diffusion on the Silk Road. One of the remnants of once-dominant Hindu and Buddhist culture in the Caucasus is Surakhani, the site of the Ateshgah of Baku.[1]


In the Middle Ages, Hindu traders visited present-day Azerbaijan for Silk Road trade. The area was traversed by Hindu traders coming mostly from Multan and Sindh (in present-day Pakistan). The Atasghah in Surakhani was used by those traders to worship while in the area. Most of the traders left around the advent of the British Raj. The ceremonies were officiated by a Punjabi pandit.[2] Historical sources indicate that locals worshipped at Surakhani even before the construction of the Atashgah, drawn by the "seven holes with burning flame" from which Surakhani takes its name.[3] In the 1880s, the Czar Alexander III of Russia went to Azerbaijan to witness one of the last Hindu ceremonies performed there. After the 1890s, nearly all of the original Hindu merchants in Azerbaijan had died or left for South Asia.[4]


Members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishnas, are registered in Baku.[5] In October 2002, authorities returned 20,000 of the 35,000 books seized in 1996 from the Baku Society of Krishna Consciousness [6] Azerbaijan Daily Digest states that very few Azeri people have become Hare Krishna[7] and they are mostly represented by members of ISKCON.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rare Hindu temple in Muslim Azerbaijan - Sify.com
  2. ^ Pre – Islamic Vedic Culture in Afghanistan - NHCTUK
  3. ^ Observations from the Ancients Farid Bakharov - Azerbaijan International
  4. ^ My Travels Outside Bombay - Ervad Shams-Ul-Ulama Dr. Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi B. A., Ph. D. C. I. E.
  5. ^ Azerbaijan Daily Digest
  6. ^ Azerbaijan
  7. ^ Azerbaijan moves to impose tighter control Archived 16 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine. - Eurasian net
  8. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2006, Azerbaijan - U.S. State Department

External links[edit]