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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Camerons' visit Swaminarayan Mandir at London

There are beautiful sarees; some beautifully worn; ~ and some worn by beautiful women ………….. somebody said : ‘ women ogle at sarees worn by other women without admitting their admiration; they admire sarees in showcases and on mannequins ~ but not when in their possession in their wardrobe’ !!!! ~ a friend of mine regularly puts up her photos with new collection of sarees [not sure how many admire and how many envy !!!!]

Visitors to Delhi cannot but admire the most magnificent temple in the banks of Yamuna adjacent to 2010 Commonwealth Games village in eastern New Delhi…. that is ‘Swaminarayan’s Akshardham’ – an engineering marvel,  inspired and developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha.  It is a temple in the cult of  Swaminarayan Hinduism. There are many such beautiful temples established by the founder of the Swaminarayan Sampraday and his followers.  Swaminarayan Akshardham mandirs are in many cities including – Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Junagadh, Jetalpur.  These temples have the idols of Laxmi Narayan – Lord Maha Vishnu in various forms.  

One of the most prominent features of the heritage of Swaminarayan is temple architecture. The images in the temples built by Swaminarayan are the evidence of the priority of Krishna. All of the temples constructed during his life show some form of Krishna. Swaminarayan temples, like other Hindu temples, have walkways around the central shrine to allow worshipers to circumambulate the shrine. These are often decorated with designs and inlaid marble. The main shrine area is divided by railings. Understand that the cult is widely spread globally and there are so many temples outside India too,  spread across five continents.

Samantha Gwendoline Cameron is quite popular business woman and more well known as wife of David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Earlier she was  creative director of stationers Smythson of Bond Street ~ she is in news for her visit to a Hindu temple clad in a sari…. [report extracted from Daily Mail] 

Stylish Samantha Cameron is known for her knack of always dressing impeccably for the occasion and today [4/11/13],  the Prime Minister's wife chose a dramatic autumnal sari to take in London's colourful Diwali celebrations. 42-year-old Samantha chose a russet-coloured sari edged in gold for a visit to the Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest traditional Hindu temple outside India, at Neasden in north-west London. 

Understand that Diwali is celebrated in a grand manner in parts of London too… Fireworks and lamps are used to create a riot of colour to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The Neasden temple which opened in 1995, is the largest of its kind outside of India. Made of almost 2,820 tons of Bulgarian limestone and 2,000 tons of Italian carrara marble the temple was carved in India and then shipped to London for building. Since opening the temple has attracted almost three million visitors.

Prime Minister David Cameron chose not to dress quite so spectacularly as his wife, wearing his trusty navy suit; 42-year-old Samantha glittered in a russet-coloured sari edged in gold.  David Cameron tweeted images of Sam being greeted with a Chandio and then the couple inside the temple

On his visit to England in 1970, Yogiji Maharaj consecrated a small Swaminarayan Mandir in Islington, London. To realise the dream of his guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired the mandir and consecrated it in 1995. From the moment the first stone was cut on 16 February 1993 to the moment the final piece was packed in June 1995, over 1,500 skilled village craftsmen, artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat – skilled in traditional stone and masonry – worked round the clock chipping away to fashion the rough stone and fine marble into the required forms. The finished products of rich carvings were a testimony to their exquisite skills of craftsmanship. Stone experts recommended limestone from Bulgaria for the mandir exterior and marble from Italy and Ambaji (India) for the mandir interior. The stone and marble chosen met necessary aesthetic criteria, durable enough to withstand British weather conditions yet soft and suitable enough for the delicate work of carving.  Limestone and marble were transported in consignments by sea to the port of Kandla in Kutch, on the west coast of Gujarat. Over 1,500 skilled village craftsmen from Rajasthan and Gujarat, skilled in stone and masonry work based on centuries of tradition, were involved in the mandir work at 14 different sites in India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Nov. 2013.

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