Hinduism in Seychelles
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Hinduism in the Seychelles is the second largest religion after Christianity, with more than 2.4% of the population. The Hindu following in Seychelles has seen an increase in the community with the organization of the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam and the consecration of the Navasakti Vinayagar Temple. The increase in size and popularity of Hinduism caused the Government to declare Taippoosam Kavadi Festival a holiday.
History of Hindus in Seychelles
In 1901 there were 332 Hindu families out of a population of 19,237 and roughly 3,500 Tamil speaking people.
The organization of the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam in 1984 and the consecration of the Navasakti Vinayagar Temple in May 1992 were landmarks for the resurgence of Indian cultural activities apart from the religious awakening.
There were over 2,150 Hindus in the Seychelles as of the 2010 Population and Housing Census, an increase of 500 from the 2002 census. The percentage of Hindus from the 2002 census to the 2010 census increased from 2.1 to 2.4%.
Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam
The Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam, over a short span of seventeen years, has successfully established and entrenched some strong foundations for the preservation, consolidation and further flowering of the Hindu culture. The ever-popular kavadi festival and special Hindu festivals are covered in Tamil, English in the national media and there is a wide coverage of such events over national radio and television.
The Arulmigu Navasakti Vinayagar Temple is the first and the only Hindu temple in Seychelles, has Ganesha as the presiding deity. Since 1999, Ganesha has been. Apart from the presiding deity, icons of Murugan, Nadarajah, Durga, Sreenivasa Perumal, Bhairawa and Chandekeswarar are enshrined in the inner mandapam of the temple. Prayers are performed for the different deities on special occasions.
Taippoosam Kavadi Festival, which started in 1993 in Seychelles in the inner courtyard of the temple, is now conducted in the outer courtyard and a chariot kavadi is also taken out in procession. This festival has gained popularity as a national festival so much so that as from 1998 the Government has declared it a holiday for Hindus.