Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you plan to work in a temple in the United States, you should have a good command of English, as well as proficiency in Hindi; Telegu; Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and other regional languages of India; and Sanskrit (the primary sacred language of Hinduism), among other languages. Most American high schools do not teach Indian languages, but you can take language classes at Indian community centers or local colleges.

Recommended classes for an aspiring U.S.-based archaka include business, accounting, science, mathematics, speech, music, and computer science.

Postsecondary Education

Many archakas received their training from experienced archakas in India or through formal education programs offered by Indian universities.

Many U.S.-based Hindu temples require job applicants to have an undergraduate degree. In the United States and Canada, some colleges and universities offer degree programs with concentrations in Hindu studies or Southeast Asian Studies. For example, the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, offers a master of arts with an area of concentration in Hindu studies. Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, offers a bachelor of arts in Southern Asia Studies, and its graduate program in religion covers Hinduism in detail. Typical classes in these programs include Introduction to Hinduism; The Veda, Upanishads, and Religion in Ancient India; Hindu Sadhana: From Yajna to Yoga; Yoga in History, Thought, and Practice; Hindu Myth and Narrative: the Epics and Puranas; Gandhi, Colonialism, and Beyond; and Women and Religion: Hinduism Religion and the Arts in South and South East Asia.

Other Education or Training

Archakas continue to learn throughout their careers by interacting with more learned members of their religious community. They can also improve their language, computer science, and business skills by taking courses at colleges and universities and through business and technology associations.


The Graduate Theological Union, through its Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, offers a six-course certificate program that culminates in the awarding of a certificate in Hindu studies. While this certificate alone does not prepare you to become an archaka, it will provide you with a better understanding of the religion and its tenets. Visit https://www.gtu.edu/academics/areas/hindu-studies for more information. Some colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate certificates in Indian languages. Contact schools in your area to learn about available programs.  

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Hinduism is a highly decentralized religion, and there is no standard certification or licensing for archakas. Some U.S.-based temples may require that job applicants possess certification in specific Hindu traditions from Indian government agencies or India-based Hindu religious organizations.  

Other Requirements

Some temples may require a background check. Traditionally, only those from the Brahmin caste could serve as archakas, but today individuals from any caste may do so with the requisite training if the temple rules, or Agama Shastras, permit it.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Most American Hindu temples require applicants to have three to five years of experience as an archaka or assistant archaka—preferably with some experience working at a temple in the United States.

Successful archakas are proficient in Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian languages, as well as Hindu religious and classical texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, Vedas, Upanishads, Agama Shastras, Puranas, and the Ramayana.They have a deep understanding of traditional Hindu rituals and festivals of various regions of India. They are excellent communicators, have good interpersonal skills, and possess strong and clear speaking voices. Many U.S.-based temples require that archakas be able to also communicate in English. Other important traits include dedication, flexibility in serving the needs of the temple, and the ability to work as a member of a team with temple trustees, board members, other employees, volunteers, and the general public. Many U.S.-based temples require proficiency in basic business principles and the use of Microsoft Word and Excel.