Baha’i Temple Of Uganda
Baha’i temple of Uganda the one and the only Baha’i temple in Africa is a unique architectural structure sharing a resemblance with a traditional African hut. It has a dome standing at a height of 33 meters tall covering area of 52 acres of land on Kikaaya hill-Kanyanya in Kawempe division which is 3 kilometers from Kampala capital city of Uganda on Kampala Gayaza road.
Baha’i temple house of worship is an architectural masterpiece with a breathtaking view attracting a number of tourists. It has a circular covered porch on the lowest level. The front surface is covered with green white Mosaic, with a 44 ft. diameter and green painted dome with an underground foundation of 10ft 3 meters to protect it from earthquakes. It is surrounded by a Beautiful peaceful environment filled with trees, flowers offering fresh air and indigenous bird species which are good for bird viewing.
Baha’i temple of Uganda also known as Mashriqu’l-Adhkar (an Arabic word meaning dawning-place of praise of God) is one of the 9 still surviving Baha’i temples in the world which include the one in Chile, Germany, Samoa, United States of America, Panama, Australia and Cambodia (Baha’i temples in Ashgabat and Turkmenistan were destroyed). It embodies traditional and artistic values and its architectural elements reflect different meanings, a dome shape element signifies divine circle reflecting heaven on earth and the spirituality of the sacred borders.
Baha’i temple house of worship is a worship Centre for Baha’i religion where a large number of believers from various countries worldwide Uganda inclusive meet for worship. The Baha’i faith is a religion which seeks for the unity of all races as its priority founded by Bahaullah, born as Mírzá Ḥusayn-‘Alí Núrí in Iran former Persia. Bahaullah is an Arabic name which means ‘the glory of God’. Among its teachings, true values of humanity are their main objective.
Baha’i faith first surfaced in Uganda in 1946 when Uganda’s first Ph.D. holder and an associate with United Nations Ernest Kalibala attended a conference and gave a speech at the New York Baha’i center. With the cooperation and support from Baha’i community in America, British, Egyptian and Persia, the idea of bringing the religion to Uganda began in 1950, before the pioneers came in Africa materials like holy writings of the Baha’i faith which were translated into languages widely used for example English and in 1952 Baha’i faith had over 1000 followers.
In the spirit of spreading the faith in Uganda, Mr. and Mrs. Musa together with Mrs. Violette and Mr. Al Nakhjavani of Iran with their baby Bahiyyih and Mr. Phillip Hainsworth arrived Kampala Uganda On August 3, 1951. Following the death of hand of cause Louis George Gregory on July 30th, 1951 which was commemorated by holding a meeting in Kampala where five pioneers and Marguerite Preston (from Kenya) were joined by twelve Africans, Fred Bigabwa and Chrispin Kajubi were the first Ugandans to convert to Baha’i faith. In 1952 the first Baha’i local spiritual assembly was elected in Kampala with members including Fred Bigabwa, Chrispin Kajubi, Peter Musoke, Enoch Olinga, Mr. and Mrs. Músá Banání, Mr. and Mrs. Ali Nakhjavani and Philip Hainsworth who were soon joined by American pioneers, Mary and Reginald (Rex) Collison, in 1958 a Baha’i intercontinental conference was held in Kampala to mark an event where a foundation stone for Baha’i temple was laid.
In the Baha’i faith, a hand of cause means a rank given to a group of people for their distinguished service to the religion and a pioneer refers to a person who left their home to other places with a purpose of teaching the Baha’i faith.
The Baha’i faith is a unique faith and different from the other faith, its followers a bid laws as they are laid out from their holy book called Kitáb-i-Aqdas which was written in 1873 by the Baha’i founder Bahá’u’lláh. Some of the rules include
- 3 minimum mandatory prayers
- Has no dedicated day of the week for prayer, followers can pray any day and those who cannot make it to the temple they can go to one of the 10 Baha’i centers in the world.
- Special days like twin holy birthdays commemorating the birth of Bahá’u’lláh and Báb of either October or November are the most special days in Baha’i faith (11 holy days).
- In Baha’i faith they do not baptize instead when a believer turns 15 years of age, they declare their commitment to the faith and in so doing they are given declaration card. The same applies to new converts.
As per Baha’i scriptures, Baha’i temples’ architectural elements are specified
- Requires the temple to have a nine-sided circular shape
- No pictures, statues or images may be displayed within the house of worship
- Have a single undivided room under their dome
- No altars should be added in the temple as an architectural feature
The Baha’i temple welcomes everyone regardless the religion and race. Tours around it are lead by tour guides and it is an amazing tour as you get informed about the religion, its history, achievements and much more. The tour is governed by a particular regulation
- No pictures are allowed to be taken inside the temple but outside the temple, photos are allowed
- Leave no litter
- Operates between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- While going to the temple a suitable attire is needed
Baha’i faith like other faith in Uganda has faced hard times for example during the regime of Idi Amin the faith was banned and this led to the murder of knight of Bahāulla the youngest hand of cause on September 16th, 1979 together with his family. According to the association of religion data archives, followers of Baha’i religion are estimated more than 78,500 believers.
Visit Uganda and tour different places like Baha’i temple and other national parks later, like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for Gorilla trekking, Lake Mburo National Park and many other tour destinations.