The most substantial sight in Nadi, Fiji Islands, is the Sri Siva Subrahmaniya Swami Temple off Queens Road at the south entrance to town. It’s easily the largest and finest of its kind in the South Pacific. The local Hindus erected this colorful South Indian-style temple in 1994 with the help of skilled workers flown in from India. The entire brick and concrete building is painted in basic colors with intricate sculpture on the towers. This temple is dedicated to Muruga (also known as Subrahmaniya), the mythical general who led the devas (divinities) to victory over the demons, and on the ceiling outside the three-story main sanctum is a fresco of a six-faced Lord Muruga riding a peacock. Visitors may enter this consecrated place of worship during daylight hours, but shoes must be removed at the entrance, and you must cover bare shoulders or legs with a sulu. Admission is free but if you wish to take photographs a permit costing F$3.50 is required.
In Lautoka, Fiji, 33 kilometers north of Nadi, you’ll find the Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple, the most prominent Krishna temple in the South Pacific. The images on the right inside are Radha and Krishna, while the central figure is Krishna dancing on the snake Kaliya to show his mastery over the reptile. The story goes that Krishna chastised Kaliya and exiled him to the island of Ramanik Deep, which Indo-Fijians believe to be Fiji. (Curiously, the indigenous Fijian people have also long believed in a serpent-god, named Degei, who lived in a cave in the Nakauvadra Range.) The two figures on the left are incarnations of Krishna and Balarama. At the front of the temple is a representation of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Interestingly, Fiji has the highest percentage of Hare Krishnas in the population of any country in the world. The temple gift shop sells stimulating books, compact discs, cassettes, and posters, and it’s possible to rent videos. On Sunday, there’s a lecture at 11:00 am, arti or prayer (puja) at noon, and a vegetarian feast at 1:00 pm, and visitors are welcome to attend. The temple itself is open daily until 6:00 pm.
(Text from Moon Fiji published by Avalon Travel – reproduction prohibited.)