Saturday, February 09, 2008

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple Visit.

Last week Sister Mary 'marched' a group of 'Newman Housers' and others along to the BAP's temple in London. We left from Newman House and enjoyed an afternoon train ride out of the city centre, busily reading up on the history of Hinduism and the temple we were to visit. Again we 'followed' Sister Mary (who walked faster than any student, even taking into account Sebastian's height advantage over her). We arrived just in time and were welcomed into the temple by a guide. We removed our shoes and began listening to our host. We heard some very interesting stories about the history of the temple and how it was built, down to the marble designs and wood crafting. We were then led into the prayer rooms, which were made to accomodate over a thousand people and designed to let in natural light via large room windows and electric powered blinds to keep the building cool. At one end of the room was a huge platform with a mock temple made from Polystyrene, and behind that a vast screen, designed for projections. Afterwards we were escorted to another room, along the way Sebastian asked a few questions.... We took our seats and watched a video of the temple's history and its importance to the Hindu community. There followed a question and answer session, from which we were treated to a new guide, a kindly gentleman who informed us all of 'the facts of life', he provided a light hearted and somewhat amusing account of his faith.

We were then taken into the worshipping temple and spent some time in there looking at all the different colourful images and statues. It was an insight to see how Hindu's worship and pray inside their temple.

Before we left, there was just time to take a look around the gift shop which a certain member of our group really seemed to appreciate, especially the 'smellys'. If there are any interesting new 'insense' scents drifting from the chapel over the coming weeks look no further than your Sacristan to lodge complaints. I'm sure we all enjoyed an insightful and eye-opening day, our thanks to Sr Mary for organising it all.

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