So I took my visiting aunt on a tour of London. A couple of days ago we took her to visit the world-renowned Swaminarayan temple here in London, which is always a pretty cool place to visit. The entire structure is made from marble that was hand-carved in Italy and imported from there. This has to be the third time I've visited the place, and it was breathtaking as usual. Haha, the first time I visited this temple was the first time I ever used the word 'breathtaking' as a description, and it fits! The inside of the main dome is a sight to behold, what a pity that no cameras or camcorders were allowed inside. In fact, it was upon seeing this temple both from the outside and the inside for the first time that I fully understood how beautiful architecture can be. It definitely is an expression of pure art.
Still, I got some nice shots of the exterior which was very beautiful against the cool-blue backdrop of the evening sky just before the sun set. Here's the view from the side and from the front:
I think that the visit was more rushed than on previous occasions though. Before I had time to walk around and visit the bookstore there and have a look at their books, view their trinkets, talk with some people and so on. This trip was much more rushed in that I hardly saw any of their books and didn't even get a chance to sample the rock-sugar prasad. Oh well, I had a nice time taking plenty of pics of the structure as well as videoing the entire trip to make a nice home movie. I also took this pic of the side of the front marble staircase, the detail is truly astounding. Last time I was there I purchased a little book entitled the 'The Swaminarayan Sampraday', and the time before that I purchased the three parts of the biography of Sahajanand Swami, whom they call Bhagavan Swaminarayan. Surprisingly I still haven't got around to reading any of these texts. I've seen a few clashes between Gaudiyas and Swaminarayan followers on the Audarya forums, but I couldn't make sense of it all as the clashes revolved mostly around two issues; the authenticity of Swaminarayan as God (compared to how Gaudiyas believe that Mahaprabhu is Krishna), and succession issues. Still, it's definitely a famous London landmark and a place that I'd definitely like to visit again, especially around sunrise or sunset in order to take more amazing pics. Buying pics from the temple store is just not that fun. :-)