Hindu Temple of Atlanta – Riverdale, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

In the late 1970s, a group of Hindu friends were lamenting the lack of a Hindu temple in Atlanta. Over the next ten years, they gathered supporters, land, and funds, to build one of the world’s largest Hindu temples, and the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Incorporated by the State of Georgia in 1984, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta moved to its current home in 1990.

The architecture of Hindu temples is said to mirror the body: the sanctuary is the head and the lower limbs are the outer gate. The Atlanta Temple was built entirely in the traditional Indian style and is frequented by followers of Hinduism in the Greater Atlanta area. After the original masonry was finished, sculptors from India came to engrave the facade. The temple itself opened in 1990, with all the deities becoming consecrated by 1992. 

Built in the South Indian style, the Atlanta Temple incorporates four shrines for Venkateswara, Sridevi, Bhudevi and Durga, as well as sanctuaries for each. The Temple occupies a 5.3 acre park and has and 19 domes and two 72 foot tall spires climbing into the sky. One spire is dedicated to Venkateswara and the other to Shiva.

The basement level of the Venkateswara temple has a food hall that serves authentic South Indian vegetarian food on weekends and festival days, and is worth a visit.

The temple is free to enter, and the temple and its members have said they do not mind having tourists there look around. The detail of the outside architecture is magnificent, but is even more detailed and ornate on the inside so one should be sure to go in. A vision of beautiful Hindu architecture in the middle of the American South.

Know Before You Go

From Atlanta: Take I-75 South to Riverdale Exit # 237A ( GA HWY 85 ). Go Straight. Temple is located approximately 2.2 miles from the exit on the right side before Shell Gas Station. ( temple gate is at the yellow blinking light) * From Macon: Take I-75 North to Exit # 237 (State Farmers Market exit). Turn left at the stop sign. Turn left again at the first traffic light onto GA Hwy. 85. Temple is located approximately 1.5 miles from the exit on the right side before Shell Gas Station. ( temple gate is at the yellow blinking light)

If in doubt about etiquette and rules, ask anyone at the temple, and you'll get the guidance you need. As with other Hindu temples, dress modestly, and leave your footwear in your car, or in the shoe racks just outside the temple. Do NOT enter the temple buildings wearing footwear.

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