Hindu Temple in London - Swaminarayan Mandir
Rusell Peters said in one of his sketches “..we (Indians) have our own motherland - England”.
To prove this statement I went on a mission to explore the largest Hindu temple outside India: Swaminarayan Mandir in London. According to the brochure “Almost 5,000 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone and Italian Carrara marble were shipped to India, hand-carved by over 1,500 skilled artisans, and then shipped to London”. I can only add that what they created is truly a masterpiece. I have seen a Mosque, a Buddhist temple, Orthodox and Catholic Church but this one is beyond doubt a piece of the divine realm.
The guard will politely instruct you to leave your camera and personal belongings outside. Bear in mind that also in the temple you should respectfully take off your shoes.
The ornaments inside and outside were so delicate and twisted in intricate shapes that they reminded me of knitted fabric. My logic refused to accept that this was done by a human hand.
Attention! Do not miss the hall upstairs where all the Vedic goddesses whisper and smirk.
I bought some small souvenirs to remind me of this amazing temple. Authentic Vegetarian Restaurant is just across the street. If you have a sweet tooth you will be tempted to buy one pack. Samosas, Bhaji and Tandoori are on the menu, people who have visited or lived in London most probably know what these mean.
How to get there: This is a tricky part. Once you get to Neasden Station on Jubilee line walk 10-15 minutes. Ask around at the bus station. You can look at the alternative routes in the link below. Buses Number 224 and 204 stop just outside the gates. The region is not the most attractive but don’t let this distract you from your pilgrimage. This website http://londonmandir.baps.org/visit-us/getting-here/ can be handy.
Thank you mum for insisting that we should visit this temple!