Temple in the Sea at Waterloo

Temple in the Sea at Waterloo, Trinidad

Temple in the Sea at Waterloo

Temple in the Sea at Waterloo
4
Historic Sites • Religious Sites
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RossBlake
By RossBlake
One man's dream and perseverance finally became a reality
Nov 2019
The history of the Temple in the Sea is one of perseverance and a legal loophole, not a common tale around temples. The temple, also called the Waterloo Temple, was the dream of one man - Sewdass Sadhu. As an indentured labourer immigrant from India, living in the village of Waterloo with other immigrants from India, he wanted a place to worship. During his free time, he built his own temple. He built the first temple in 1947, but the government at the time had not allowed it and five years after it was built, it was torn down. Sewdass was told that he was not allowed to build a temple on the land. So he got creative. After work hours, he moved rocks by hand and on bicycle reclaiming land at low tide. He did by hand for 25 years and ultimately didn’t finish before his death. The government decided in 1995 to finish the project and dedicate it to him on the 150th anniversary of Indian people arriving in Trinidad and Tobago. We visited the temple as part of a day trip with Sensational Tours and Transport. The temple was shut when we visited, but that simply didn’t let us go inside the physical building. We were still free to walk around the reclamation and look into the temple from the outside. From the temple you can see Port of Spain and even Venezuela on clear days. I found the story beautiful, and also sad that Sewdass never saw the finished project. The temple is worth a stop at to understand the size of the project, and also for the views into the ocean. However, it’s not worth a standalone trip by any means. I was actually slightly underwhelmed when I got there, having seen some photography with some clever angles. Walking out to the temple on the reclaimed path gives you an understanding of the extend of one man’s sacrifice for his religion. The gardens are maintained well and the temple itself looked like it would be picturesque for ceremonies. The temple is surrounded by flags, called Jhandis, a Hindu practice that is unique to the Caribbean I’ve been told, and not practiced in India. They are coloured to represent prayers to different gods, each assigned a specific colour. There are photos showing the modest temple that originally in this place, but regardless it is a truly powerful tale.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.0
105 reviews
Excellent
43
Very good
36
Average
19
Poor
6
Terrible
1

RossBlake
Cranbrook, Canada929 contributions
Nov 2019
The history of the Temple in the Sea is one of perseverance and a legal loophole, not a common tale around temples. The temple, also called the Waterloo Temple, was the dream of one man - Sewdass Sadhu. As an indentured labourer immigrant from India, living in the village of Waterloo with other immigrants from India, he wanted a place to worship. During his free time, he built his own temple. He built the first temple in 1947, but the government at the time had not allowed it and five years after it was built, it was torn down. Sewdass was told that he was not allowed to build a temple on the land.

So he got creative. After work hours, he moved rocks by hand and on bicycle reclaiming land at low tide. He did by hand for 25 years and ultimately didn’t finish before his death. The government decided in 1995 to finish the project and dedicate it to him on the 150th anniversary of Indian people arriving in Trinidad and Tobago.

We visited the temple as part of a day trip with Sensational Tours and Transport. The temple was shut when we visited, but that simply didn’t let us go inside the physical building. We were still free to walk around the reclamation and look into the temple from the outside.

From the temple you can see Port of Spain and even Venezuela on clear days. I found the story beautiful, and also sad that Sewdass never saw the finished project. The temple is worth a stop at to understand the size of the project, and also for the views into the ocean. However, it’s not worth a standalone trip by any means. I was actually slightly underwhelmed when I got there, having seen some photography with some clever angles.

Walking out to the temple on the reclaimed path gives you an understanding of the extend of one man’s sacrifice for his religion. The gardens are maintained well and the temple itself looked like it would be picturesque for ceremonies. The temple is surrounded by flags, called Jhandis, a Hindu practice that is unique to the Caribbean I’ve been told, and not practiced in India. They are coloured to represent prayers to different gods, each assigned a specific colour. There are photos showing the modest temple that originally in this place, but regardless it is a truly powerful tale.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Myles D
Whitehorse, Canada379 contributions
Feb 2020
The story behind this place is really interesting and I encourage you to read more about it. The place itself was very impressive as well and relatively easy to get to. There were a lot of people there the day we went because of a funeral, which was taking place in the adjacent parking lot. A large funeral pyre burned as music blasted from speakers - it was a bit disturbing to the senses but I guess this is how they carry out their funerals there.

The temple grounds were peaceful and serene. Just a note that we went during low tide and the surrounding area was a bit of an eye sore, it was just muddy and dirty to be honest. I'd recommend finding out when high tide is. Other than that it was a very peaceful place and we're glad we went.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Viddhisama
Orlando, FL64 contributions
It's amazing to know about the history of this place as it is. It was
built by Sewdass Saddoo who was a my in Trinidad who wanted to prayer
and erect a temple and since no one wanted to alocate a portion of land for him to build a Temple to do so he decided to make a way into
the ocean with rocks as a pathway and then erect a Temple for him to pray, because he said if people owned land and he could have any to pray in then nobody owned the sea and so he built his temple. The goverment in the country has no reconstructed the building but it has
been placed exactly where it was originally built. Very beautiful, calm and scared grounds in Trinidad.
Written March 24, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lenny1995
London, UK32 contributions
Feb 2015 • Family
Being a temple, this place has a specific appeal - however do read the history - it becomes an inspiring story. It's small, not as 'ornate' as other temples around the world, but well worth a visit.
Written March 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Varuna P
Trinidad and Tobago303 contributions
Jul 2017 • Friends
To visit the scenic beauty of this temple is one thing, to know the history is another. This is a definite must visit when in Trinidad. The temple was built by an Indian indentured labourer named Siewdass Sadhu. Under the British rule, East Indians were not permitted to pray on British owned land. Out of might and pure devotion, Sadhu built the temple in the sea as no man could claim the sea and therefore no one could stop him once it was there. The temple has been remodeled and rebuilt from the original structure obviously, but it is truly amazing. Please do not visit or touch anything if you have consumed alcohol or non vegetarian food.
Written February 14, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Assie48
South Africa121 contributions
Sep 2013 • Friends
It's a long drive to the temple..and the road is narrow and full of potholes..you park your car and walk a short while along the ocean..the "water" is ash grey, thick and smelly..rubble, cremation pots etc is lying along the path and in the polluted ocean..the temple was locked and we could look through the windows, just like any other temple..I would not recommend going there at all.
Written September 12, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

cleggytravels
Kingston, Jamaica199 contributions
Jul 2013 • Friends
If you're a spiritual or historical traveler and by spiritual i mean Hindu, then this would be an interesting site to visit. In a nutshell its an actual temple built in the sea at a time when Indentured laborers weren't allowed to construct worship centers on land due to the lack of ownership. However a wise man decided to use a technicality and build the temple Offshore quite brilliant i must say. The temple has remained a sanctuary and somewhat of a serene holy ground for many Hindus and is also beside a cremation center. I personally liked the idea of visiting the site just to see a real piece of history however i was a bit spooked by the fact that it has so much significance with death, before you enter the property its located beside a cemetery and also beside a cremation center a bit spooky if you ask me. In addition to this the only other thing worth seeing nearby is the large Hindu statute by the Hindu museum just up the road,. the water isn't really scenic by tourist standards. But overall worth visiting if you want a slice of history or if you want a spiritual experience on the Hindu side and nothing else. Snacks and food are not available bring your own, parking is available and entrance is free, be respectful and take your shoe off before entering the actual temple as well. Oh i should also mention that when i visited renovations were being done to the sea wall and outer areas of the temple so maybe you will have an even better experience than i did.
Written August 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

OceanWanderer
Brisbane368 contributions
Dec 2014 • Couples
This is a small pleasant little temple unusually built on a spit out into the sea, apparently because they were prohibited from building it on land. It's nice enough but nothing special/
Written April 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Prof_Leone
West Barnstable, MA38 contributions
Jan 2014 • Friends
Yesterday we walked out to the temple in the sea in Waterloo. One the shore there were two blazing funeral pyres burning amid hundreds of attendees. Inside the temple, a guru gave our college group a very hypnotic talk about Hinduism, its philosophies, deities and reincarnation. All about helping others, and sending ripples of good karma throughout the universe. Interestingly, most of the students had never really heard this firsthand, and in such a simple, sensible way.

On the walk back, we passed one of the mourners, whose car was stuck in muddy grass on the sloping shoulder. A bunch of the boys and I pushed him out and we was on his way. Good karma for us.
Written January 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gemma2010155019
Toronto, Canada7 contributions
Jun 2013 • Friends
It is a beautiful temple. Very inspiring to see how it was built by the hard work of one dedicated person. He worked on it when the tide was out and hence it's in the sea when the tide is in.Now there is a bridge to get to the temple. Worth the visit
Written June 22, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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