More than 1,300 people visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, on the weekend of 22-23 September 2018 as part of the Mandir’s participation in this year’s ‘Open House London’ initiative – an annual architectural festival celebrating London’s buildings and design.
The Open House programme began 25 years ago with the first event in 1992, with the aim to offer free access to London’s best buildings and inspiring the public about the benefits of great design. Open House is organised by Open-City, with more than 35 cities across the world now embracing its concept.
The Mandir – one of London’s iconic religious buildings – joined over 800 buildings, walks, talks and tours in London across the two days. The visitor experience included a personalised welcome by young children who explained the history and religious significance of the Mandir and its distinguishing features. A further in-depth tour was also provided, while there were plenty of opportunities to join worshippers for one of the arti ceremonies during the day.
Visitors from various walks of life braved the wet weather to experience the Mandir’s religious architecture, peace and spirituality. Many shared their impressions of their visit. A selection of their experiences are provided below:
“A very impressive building – beautiful and inspiring, but above all, I was touched by the ethos of peace, warmth, respect and open hospitality from its volunteers.” (JWO, psychotherapist)
“The Mandir is a place of living religion – something of great value to London. We have felt very welcome and the visit has been very educational.” (SCH, retired teacher)
“A magnificent building. I have visited India and experienced many temples but none as beautiful as this. Thank you.” (JF)
“Stunning architecture and fascinating experience of the history and discipline behind its construction. A true fusion of art and architecture unlike anywhere else in London.” (SP, architect)
“There are no words to describe the place, people and feelings you begin to channel once you are inside.” (SU, librarian)
“I was very impressed by the beauty of the temple, knowledge of the guide and the enlightening exhibition. The ceremony was very peaceful. Thank you for gifting us with this experience.” (DO, psychologist)
“Absolutely stunning in its beauty. I feel uplifted and fulfilled. I learned a great amount about Hinduism and its contribution to the world.”