Sometimes the best cure for your between adventure blues is a mini adventure.
With our Canada trip in the past, and no real plans for our next destination, I was in need of an adventure this past weekend.
So I decided to spend my MLK holiday exploring Houston, with the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir as the main event.
I’ve always been captivated by India; it’s actually at the top of my travel wishlist. At a young age I fell in love with the culture, architecture, language, music, film, and food of of India.
So when I saw one of my Houston friends post a picture of herself in front of this amazing temple, I was immediately jealous that she was getting to explore India. But then I realized she was a mere 30 minutes from downtown!
I knew I had to add this place to my Houston to-do list.
I’m so glad I did because the Mandir is absolutely amazing and unlike any place I’ve ever been.
This was the first traditional Hindu Mandir of its kind in North America. It’s made of over 33,000 pieces of Italian marble and Turkish limestone. All of these pieces were hand carved in India, and then sent to Houston to be assembled. The Mandir was inaugurated in 2004 after 16 months of construction time, which utilized 1.3 million volunteer hours.
The outside is stunning, but it doesn’t compare to the beauty inside. But in respect of the religious worship space, people are asked to refrain from photography inside the temple, so I didn’t take any photos of my own inside. I was able to find a few photos online to give y’all an idea of the atmosphere.
There is so much detail in every aspect of the Mandir’s architecture. I could spend days there, admiring every statue and every carving. I just can’t believe that all of it was made by human hands. Amazing!
Visitors of all faiths are welcome, entrance is free, and you can walk around all the temple and its grounds admiring the intricate carvings and holy statues. If you time your visit right, you can catch a few worship rituals. Check the website for schedules.
In order to go inside the Mandir, proper ettiquette must be followed.
- You are required to leave your shoes in cubby rooms outside and to go in with bare feet or socks.
- You must cover shoulders and legs from the knee down, but they provide wraps for anyone who isn’t following their dress code.
- No photography is permitted inside the Mandir.
- Cell phones must also be switched to silent.
- To maintain the spiritual atmosphere, visitors must observe silence inside the Mandir.
I can’t wait to go back to this gorgeous place! I’m hoping to attend some Diwali events later this year. Stay tuned!
Happy travels, friends!