The Swaminarayan Temple

free!!
a couple of hours
open all year long
is a masterpiece!

Directions

Swaminarayan Temple is a Hindu temple based it Neasden, north-west London.
I knew about its existence three years or so but I had never found the opportunity to go visit.
Then on Sunday I woke up thinking about it and I said to myself: today I'm going there, end of the story!

I took the Jubilee Line, alighted at Wembley Park, then took the 206 bus towards Kilburn Park Station and after 15 min I arrived at the Swaminarayan Temple bus stop.

So, ladies and gentleme, after 45 minutes travelling i realized that my Canon had no memory card inside!😑
It happened me twice, that's means I'm a genius. Twice a genius. 😐

No harm anyway, because inside the temple photography is banned!
Interiors pictures you'll see below are londonmandir.baps.org's credit.

Haveli

At the entrance, two gentlemen ask me to leave my backpack at the cloakroom: it's free of charge.
After the metal detector scan a lady asks me to leave my shoes at the changing room on the right hand side.

The hall is divided into 3 sections: a small bazaar in the middle and two big carpets on the sides, right for women, left for men. The walls and the ceiling are wood carved, handmade using English oaks and Burmese Teak sourced from sustainable forests. For each 3 felled, 10 saplings were planted. Children noisy roll on the carpets, adults sit on the same carpet trying to keep them calm and praying.
This area is called Haveli.

I go through the men side, I stop over an isle watching a wall covered in comments and pictures of prestigioss guests: Karol Wojtyła, Boris Johnson, David and Samantha Cameron - traditional Indian dressed.

Opposite this wall, a window shows a side wall of the temple,a grass lawn and an aisle where visitors cannot access. I approach the window, I gladly notice that the floor is warm. I see passing a monk with a long orange robe.
I continue past the hall and arrive at the ground floor of the proper temple, the white one you see from outside: the Mandir.
Here I find an exhibition about Hinduism, the entrance fee is £2 only. I'm curious, I'm walkin in.

It's been interesting! Hinduism is the most ancient religion of the world. It teaches to see the presence of God in all things, to honour the whole Creation. For this reason it instill care for nature, the whole humanity, all the animals: we should never exploit nor eat them. It teaches non-violence, loyalty, and respect for other religions. He believes in reincarnation. I like it!

Mandir

I leave the museum area, on my right there's a white staircase.
I go upstairs.
I open my eyes wide, I'm astonished: I stay with the stunned face for a good 5 minutes before I realize that the curator is looking at me worried.
The temple soul, an INCREDIBLE place.
5000 tons of Carrara marble and Bulgarian limestone hand-carved forming a beautiful prayer hall. Every column and every wall is carved,no one centimeter of wall is left smooth. The ceiling is made of bas-reliefs and high reliefs, the white of the room is almost blinding.
Silence reigns in the room, some Indians pray on their knees facing the statues of Murtis, sacred images pervaded, according to the ritual, by the divine presence. I read that the Mandir has been built thanks to the love and determination of more than 3,000 volunteers in just three years.

I sit on the floor too. I look around, I admire the columns, the dome on my head, the colorful clothes of women, the strength of the elders who get up from the ground after praying..

I wanna go to India.

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