Fiji – Fire dances, sunsets and the largest Hindu temple in the Pacific

“People here always said to me, ‘Why would you leave civilization to go to a place like Fiji?’ Fiji is a far more civilized place than California or New York City.”
– Raymond Burr

There’s so much cool stuff in the world. On the tiny island of Likoma, Malawi I found St. Peter’s Cathedral, a large Anglican church built by stones imported by many different countries. And on Viti Levu, the largest island in Fiji I found Sri Siva Subramaniya, the largest Hindu temple in the Pacific.

I was thinking about going to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a large botanical garden, but I never made it. I got on a plane from Port Vila, Vanuatu to Nadi, Fiji and was met at arrivals by three guys playing the ukulele and a quick paced passport check before I hopped on another minivan to another hostel.

I stayed at Smuggler’s Cove Backpackers and they delighted us all with really awesome hits… Yeah, that’s sarcasm… But I was pleasantly surprised by the renaissance of “Pony” by Ginuwine *LOL* – It got so bad I felt the need to tell all my friends and followers of my plight. SnapChat to the rescue.

I swear… it was on repeat… omg.

Anyway, I met Trudie and Jane, Dakota and Eilidh and ended up hanging out on the beach every evening just for the sunsets. They were some of the best I’ve ever seen. I mean, all sunsets are great, but these were spectacular. Made me happy I came to Fiji to be honest… It may seem like a small thing, but I was in love.

Sri Siva Subramaniya temple

On day 3 Jane and I decided to take the local bus into town to see the Sri Siva Subramaniya temple. It’s on the main road through Nadi and it happens to be the largest Hindu temple in the Pacific.

“The foundation for a new temple was laid at the old site in 1976 during the Golden Jubilee celebrations by His Excellency the High Commissioner for the government of India in Fiji. It was realised that a new and bigger national temple was needed. (…) The temple was built in the best traditions of ancient Dravidian Indian temple architecture as well as the principles of sacred architecture of the Vastu Vedic tradition. The consecration ceremonies of their new national temple were held on July 15, 1994.”

Jane decided she wanted to see the temple and mentioned it to me – I had already decided to go so I had no problem being wingman.
This place wasn’t the biggest I’d seen by far, but the colors were incredible, even for a Hindu temple. You have to rent a sarong before entering pretty much regardless of what you wear. I was wearing long trousers that were pretty loose and a tunic over them, but I still had to rent a sarong. It wasn’t a big deal though, we just went with it it was a small price to pay to get a closer look at the temple. We also got a guide included, we didn’t know that. He told us about some very vague and random rituals and showed us the massive tree in the courtyard which gave a chilled shade that was almost magical. I just remember it being so cool under there… He gave us free reign to walk around and take as many pictures as we wanted after that and we were pretty happy to do it. In hindsight I should’ve asked him if he would tell us something about the many beautiful murals we saw there cause I have no idea now what they depicted…

Anyway, it was an enjoyable affair, I’m glad I got to see it. Even with being pretty “templed out” I thought this particular temple was pretty great. On the way back I ended up buying a bunch of souvenirs too – including a painting and a very garishly painted shell that will serve as my Christmas ornament. Because that’s how I roll.

The last day had some atrocious rains, a surreal downpour for about two hours, this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit however – the pool was still full of people (just not in my ONE picture) and the sea had lots of swimmers, though they opted out of lying on the beach… I rounded my Fiji-trip off with a lovely dinner with drinks at the hostel with Jane, Dakota and Eilidh. Complete with a (touristy, but cool) fire dance and hula performance by a local dance troop. We even saved a small, winged bug from my drink that Jane insisted on naming “Joe” while the rest of us leaned towards “Gerald” (Sorry, Panos)…

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