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Steve and Emma's Travel Tales

Exploring Kampala's Environs Part 4: Bahai Temple

UGANDA | Saturday, 17 May 2014 | Views [1273]

Way up on a hill in the north of Kampala is a temple visible from many parts of the city, it turns out this is the Bahai Temple. So one Saturday afternoon we thought we would have a walk out and check it out being the culture vultures that we are!

As we could see it from our area of town, Bukoto, we thought we could wander off and head in the general direction. Once we had traversed the ring road we were soon into African village life and it didn’t feel like Kampala at all. No one batted an eyelid, except for the odd call of ‘Muzungu’ from some hand waving children, as we passed people selling everyday objects and washing clothes in the street. We couldn’t now see the temple so we headed up a dirt track thinking we were heading towards the temple so I asked a passer-by if we were on the right track. As I turned round we could see the domed temple looming behind us on the hill. The kind local told us to ‘go down and straight and do not deviate’. He was spot on and we were soon entering the grounds of Bahai Temple.

We got a warm welcome from the guard who said we were free to look around. We noticed that the grounds were vast, very green and peaceful as we headed up hill to the temple. At the temple there was an information board which told us about the religion and the several Bahai temples around the world. It seems the religion was started in Persia in the 1800’s by Bahaullah, or as he is known ‘The Bab’, and has Islamic roots. However, they embrace all religions and have a very idealistic mission of everyone being peaceful and loving each other. Can’t argue with that really.

The temple itself is a nine sided building topped with a green dome and is an attractive site, the only Bahai temple in the whole of Africa. But what is really great about this place is the view of Kampala and the ultra-tranquil grounds, the only real park in Kampala, where you can come and read a book and contemplate, no music or immoral behaviour allowed.

After taking in the view and wandering around the grounds we headed back home. On the way as we walked along the Bukoto-Kisasi Road we spotted a sign for Jaca Residences www.jacaresidence.com which promised a restaurant/bar in a garden setting. This was much unexpected in this area so we headed in and had a pleasant drink watching some raptors (palm nut vultures Emma informed me) circling above. They also have apartments to rent and they seemed like a good spot to base yourself on the edge of Kampala. We didn’t try the food as we had decided to pick up a takeaway pizza from the Terracotta Bar on the way home to eat whilst watching the cup final.

All in all the temple is well worth a visit and a great place to escape the stresses and noise of Kampala and even learn a little about a quite obscure religion.


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