The Bahai Temple is an octagonal dome with a beautiful garden that embraces the slopes of Kikaya Hill in Kampala. It is the only temple of its kind in Africa hence the, “Mother Temple of the Bahai Faith in Africa.”
The temple is also called, Mashriq ‘l-Adhkar which means “The Dawning Place of the Praise of God.” This is so because it acts as a spiritual gathering place open to all people in the world.
It is located 4 miles away from Kampala along Gayaza road and sits on 52 acres of land. It was constructed about 60 years ago between 1958 and 1961 on Kikaya Hill above every other landscape 3 kilometers away in all directions.
The Bahai faith was introduced in 1844 by Bahau’llah (the Glory of God), born Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri from Persia/ Iran. His followers are called Bahai and they follow a religion that seeks to unite all races.
The faith is all inclusive and centers on the idea that human rights are a priority in teaching the true values of humanity and it is because of this idea that many Ugandans converted.
Members of the Bahai Faith first arrived in Uganda in 1951 and got their first converts that year. In 1958, they bought land in a tranquil Kampala neighbourhood and started construction which took four years to be completed.
The Bahai Faith is not popular in Uganda and the teachings are mostly theological statements about God, his messengers and humans. Social teachings of equality regardless of gender race and class, the harmony of science of religion and the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty.
There are three core assertions of this faith, sometimes called the “three onesses,” that is ‘Oneness of God’, ‘Oneness of Religion’, ‘Oneness of Humanity’ are a pivot in the teaching of the religion.
The temple’s architectural design is unique, it stands tall in the middle of a green conical dome shape made of tiny glazed mosaic tiles, 27 small pillars, and 9 big pillars which support the temple to stand up right.
It stands at nearly 38 metres (125 feet) tall, and at the time of construction it was the tallest building in East Africa. The interior is 84 feet in diameter. All Temples are designed in a way that fuses traditional, spiritual and artistic values.
Africa’s temple is modelled on a traditional Africa hut; the dome shape symbolizes the divine circle, a reflection of heaven on earth and the spirituality of sacred borders.
There are 9 doors which signify the 9 ways or religions whose messengers the Bahai followers believe in. The doors are always open during prayer and meditation sessions.
It has a circular covered porch on the lowest level providing protection from the seasonal strong winds and heavy rains. The outer facade is covered in green and white mosaic tiles, while on the inside the dome is painted blue.
The building is surrounded by a peaceful floral garden that is comprised of different plants of different colours, texture, height and fragrances perfect for relaxation.
Activities done here
Birding; with an environment like the one here, it is no doubt that birds would be present. In the evenings mostly, delightful sights and sounds of birds sings fills the air, this is supplemented by the cool breeze in the gardens.
Meetings of individuals who want to strengthen their unity in the faith gather to pray, share stories or play music depending on the interests of a particular group.
Study circles are conducted in small groups to help individuals learn how to develop a conscious basis on how to respond to their community needs.
Classes mostly for children and teenagers to learn about the Bahai faith, writings as part of spiritual education. Teenagers are mostly in classes that help them to develop their spiritual intellectual capacities.
Kikaya Hill in Kanyanya, 3km north of Kampala and 7km along Gayaza road. Accessible all year round.
Bahai Temple can be visited while in Kampala and can be customized to fit in your itinerary with SunTrack Adventures