Religion has always been at the heart of living as human beings. I am always fascinated by the lengths religions go to in the detailed designs of religious architecture. From Chinese temples of Beijing
, Malaysian Batu Caves
, Cambodian ancient Ankorian temples
to exploring India
and Israel’s Bahai temples
. I also always advocate exploring your own backyard as well as seeing faraway places. Neasden temple or Baps Shri-Swaninarayan Mandir as its originally known is a beautiful Hindu temple that has been on my list for far too long. I have visited a couple of times but last year was the very first time I actually got to see the inside. The details and stories of the architecture around Neasden Temple is every bit as interesting as the outside. Said to be the largest marble structure outside of India and we all know about India’s famous marble structures such as the Taj Mahal in Agra
You can hardly believe this beautiful sight is in London! It looks like a bit of India inside the beautiful and modern metropolis that is London. It is said that during a visit by Yogiji Maharaj in 1970, he expressed a dream of having a temple in London. This dream was only realised some 25 years later when a piece of land was acquired in Neasden in 1990. Before long shipments of Italian marble and Bulgarian limestone was sent to India to be carved into shapes depicting deities and Hindu themes. Neasden temple is truly a master piece you have to see when you visit London. The Italian marble and Bulgarian limestone were transformed into 26,300 intricately carved pieces that were re-assembled when they were delivery back to London. These pieces now make up what is popularly known as Neasden Temple.
I love that the design of most Hindu temples are similar or identical(almost) as they draw inspiration from designs specified within their holy book. It only took three years to put the pieces carved in India when they arrived back in London, but it will only take you an hour or two to fully appreciate. If you live in London or the UK for that matter or a tourist from abroad, this is one temple you need to add to your list of things to see in London. Everyone in the temple is so friendly and welcoming, perhaps curiously interested to see new and unusual faces visiting.Sorry, there are no pictures of the inside in this post, hence why you have to go see it for yourself! I had my mobile and purse with me as I didn’t want to leave it with security. Pictures are also not allowed inside, I could have snuck in a few pictures but remember that this is a religious place and you have to respect the rules and respect the privacy of those praying inside.
Entry Fee: Free – Museum part of the temple costs £2 to enter.
Opening times: 9am to 6pm
Who is allowed: All are welcome, whatever faith.
Nearest Station: Neasden – Jubilee Line.
Additional Info: No bags are allowed but there is a security house next to the temple where you can leave your staff. Once inside, shoes are also not allowed around the temple but there is a spot with shelves where you can keep your shoes while exploring.