| Feature article, resuming our old Vedic Architecture... thread.
A Hindu temple on Route 59 in Bartlett is as majestic on the inside as
it is on the outside.
“What happens is people just keep driving by,” said volunteer and tour
guide Hiren Patel. “They never know they can come in. It’s when they
stop and say ‘What is this?’ that we welcome them.”
Welcome might be an understatement. Visitors of all faiths and
backgrounds are encouraged to view the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir,
currently the largest Hindu temple in North America, for free. Boasting
a spectacular interior of Italian marble and an exterior of Turkish
limestone, the temple contains more than 1,700 uniquely sculpted images.
Each of those intricate images were hand carved in just a year by stone
artisans in the Indian state of Rajasthan. With carvings of peacocks
and swans and flowers such as lotuses, the images tell India’s history
and stories. The artists were so detailed in their work, one can even
see the toenails and the lines on the hands of gods and goddesses.
The American Institute of Architects named the temple this year among
the 150 Great Places in Illinois. Although tours occur throughout the
day, photography is not allowed inside. This helps the facility maintain
the atmosphere as a place of worship rather than a museum.