July 11, 2019,   4:57 PM

The Indian Temple That Inspired The Founders Of Apple, Google And Facebook

Jamila Gandhi


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Image source: Flickr

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg both found inspiration for their billion dollar ventures at an infamous north Indian temple.

According to several reports, Jobs's interest in Eastern spirituality led him to north India in 1974, where he visited the Kainchi Dham ashram in Nainital, Uttarakhand.  Jobs left the country after seven months. 

Many years later, in Facebook’s early days, Zuckerberg met with Jobs, who recommended that the young businessman visit the same temple that he went to during Apple’s gestation period. "He (Jobs) told me that in order to reconnect with what I believed as the mission of the company I should visit this temple that he had gone to in India, early on in his evolution of thinking about what he wanted Apple and his vision of the future to be," Zuckerberg revealed at a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in 2015.

Zuckerberg heeded Jobs’ advice and traveled in India for almost a month. Upon returning to the US Zuckerberg rejected acquisition offers and grew the dorm-room social platform to become the world’s fifth most valuable brand with a market capitalization of $512 billion.

Following his visit to the ashram, the site has gained in popularity among curious nationals and tourists alike, flocking to discover first-hand what the unique selling point of the temple is. Besides Jobs and Zuckerberg, tech titans Google co-founder Larry Page and eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll have reportedly consequently traveled to the holy site. Former vice president and executive director of Google’s philanthropic arm, Larry Brilliant once upon a time used to live at the Dham ashram.

According to devotees, much of the Dham ashram’s appeal stems from its spiritual founder, Neem Karoli Baba. The temple was built in 1964, but the holy man would frequently stay in the cave lit by candles for long periods of time before the structure formed. When he passed away in 1973, a life-size marble statue was made in his honor, placed in the ashram. Visiting followers and priests pay tribute to the holy man’s figurine by beating cymbals, singing and chanting.

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