Friday, May 30, 2008

Doors Always Open at Hindu Mandir

Lines of cars and people stretched endlessly from the door last week at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir near Hwy 427 and Finch. All were welcome to come inside and explore the incredible marble and sandstone structure as part of Doors Open in Toronto. Journeying inside, where we were expected to remove all footwear and cover up appropriately, beautiful Hindu percussion rang out. We shuffled shoelessly on the cool marble floor through banquet hall to media room and then finally to the marble temple itself. Inside the intricatively carved mandir no photos were allowed, I would've loved to show you. It seems it was built to showcase the spiritual leaders of the Hindu world. Behind lavish gates inside the temple were life-sized figures made of gold - there to view, worhsip or pay respect to with a donation. Once under the dome I spun around looking at all the hindu gods carved into the ceiling and watched as decorative lights chaged the colour of the shining white room.

The tour finished with a prayer for world peace done by two darling boys who had perfectly memorized the mantra. I left feeling very peaceful, wondering about how I too could be more active in my community and better the world, something the mandir strives for above all else. I also know I'll one day go back to visit, as they made sure we all knew we were welcome to come anytime, day or night - the doors would always be open.