Our visit to a Hindu Temple
While we would love to visit every big attraction in every city we visit, we have to pick and choose as we would be broke before you know it. It is now our goal to find free or cheap things to check out as we travel along. With Mike & Annette visiting, we were looking for something to do before the Buckeyes game (Don’t ask me to talk about that. Boy, was that game ugly!). When Russ and I lived in the Atlanta area, I remembered hearing about a Hindu temple that was located in Lilburn, GA. After some research, we found out that it was less than 5 miles from the campground. We find it fascinating to see and learn about different cultures and religions. They had daily tours and to make things even better - admission was free. However, we did opt for the $5 audio tour which was definitely worth it. The audio tour had 22 stops throughout the grounds providing just enough information to give us the basics.
We learned that the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was inaugurated in August 2007. The Mandir was under construction for 17 months and is comprised of more than 34,000 individual pieces. These pieces were carved by hand in India and shipped to the USA. They were assembled on location like a giant 3-D puzzle by individuals who volunteered a combined 1.3 million hours. It truly is a work of art comprised of limestone, marble, and pink sandstone. More impressively, it is all held together without the use of mortar. We had read that the photos don’t do it justice which was absolutely true. I didn't have my good camera along as we weren't sure we would be allowed to take photos. We did snap some iPhone photos of the outside where they were permitted. Photography was not permitted anywhere inside.
The sheer size of the Mandir was impressive along with the intricate designs and sculptures on every inch of the exterior. Shoes were removed before entering the Mandir. The inside of the building as all marble and was breathtaking. I’m not versed enough to describe all the different areas inside the temple and what each meant. A few ceremonies were going on and we were careful to be respectful observers as families walked from section to section during their time of worship. The audio tour was able to provide us with a little more insight about the importance of a Hindu Mandir, the story of how it was built, short descriptions of the sacred images and the significance of the rituals.
It was certain a really neat place to visit. The detailed workmanship of the temple was beyond any design we have ever seen. It was a wonderful reminder to strive to better understand and get along with one another, embracing the good in each of our cultures and beliefs while focusing less on the differences.