Maldon U3A

Outing to the Hindu Temple, London - December 2005

The Hindu Temple the Mandir

What a surprise to be travelling along the North Circular and then turn into a side road and see this amazing building towering ahead. It stands opposite ordinary houses in an ordinary street - but this is no ordinary sight for North London . Not only is it massive, but the shape and extravagance of the design almost takes your breath away. And this is just the outside!.

The Gate to the Hindu Temple
The Gate to the Hindu Temple
Photos by John Bowen

Inside it is magnificent and spacious and unlike any building I have visited in this country. It is really in two parts. First we enter a huge hall with marble floors and wonderful, intricately carved wooden pillars, ceilings and doors. This then leads off into various meeting rooms.

The Exhibition Hall of the Hindu Temple
The left hand portion of Exhibition Hall to the Hindu Temple

Then joining this huge building we walk to the Mandir itself, which is the place of worship. Here we find a hall of elaborately carved pillars, a huge central dome and niches for beautifully presented statues of Hindu gods. No steel was used. Everything fits together in blocks like a gigantic 3D jigsaw. This is all marble but not cold to walk on in our shoeless feet because there is under floor heating. We noticed the difference when we went out onto the balcony, which leads by a grand flight of steps down to the grounds.

The Hindu Temple
The Hindu Temple

We returned inside quickly to warm up our feet! Some of us were able to sit on a carpet and others stood whilst we were part of a ceremony involving music and chanting, changing lighting around the central god images followed by someone carrying a lighted candle, which was presented in turn to us to participate in this ceremony. We had plenty of time to wander about and take everything in.
The atmosphere was friendly and warm.

We saw videos about a similar, and bigger centre recently finished in India and one about the building of this mandir which was opened 10 years ago. The story behind that is inspirational in itself. It was funded by the Hindu community here and although skilled craftsmen in India did the carving of the wood and marble, there was also a huge volunteer labour force putting it all together on site.

As a project it astounds and as a reality it is very memorable.
Do go if you have the opportunity.

Report by the Organiser of the Outing, Sheila Epps

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Last revised 16th December 2005