Om Hindu Mandir – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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Om Hindu Mandir

A 19th-century Neoclassical building now housing a Hindu temple represents modern-day Glasgow at its most multicultural. 


Built for merchant David Bell in the 1850s, this building was originally known as the Queen’s Rooms, and designed by architect Charles Wilson. As a wealthy member of the Masons, Bell wanted several references to Classic architecture and Masonic symbols added to this building, which was also meant as a celebration of the arts and sciences. The Queen’s Rooms is noted for its friezes and pediments in relief, sculpted by John Mossman and Walter Buchan.

Among the references included by the sculptors, Bell and Wilson themselves appear as two of the sculpted figures, as does Bell’s wife representing the Greek goddess Minerva. Stevenson Dalglish and Robert Hutchison, patrons of Mossman and Buchan’s, were also added in for good measure.

The building was eventually abandoned as the Queen’s Rooms and transformed into the Om Hindu Mandir. While almost the entirety of the interior has been remodeled to feature the many niches for Hindu deities as well as veneration space, the exterior remains close to its original specifications.

The building is a Listed Building, with the main change visible without entering the building being its doors, which follow the heavy sculpting of the walls, but instead feature elephants, peacocks, the om, and other symbols of Hinduism.

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