I don’t care much about religion or faith. But architecture is a different thing. I however appreciate beautiful architecture whether it is a religious one or non-religious one.
I am fascinated by a Hindu temple, Swaminarayan Mandir, in a Hindu-minority country, Canada. The example of the ancient art and architecture opened officially on July 22, 2007 and is located near Highway 427 and Finch Avenue West, Toronto.
The $40-million project involved more than 2,000 Indian craftsmen. In addition to the craftsmen and about 400 volunteers from Toronto’s Hindu community also volunteered in the construction for more than a year.
The building was constructed by using 24,000 hand-carved pieces of Turkish limestone and Italian Carrara marble. The rock pieces prepared out of Canada, were shipped across the ocean and were assembled in Toronto. It was such a big project and because of the thousands of rock pieces, each of the parts were marked with a bar code to help in the assembly. The construction was like assembling various pieces to make it into the huge temple building.
All the columns, arches and cupolas of the Mandir are covered in carvings of deities. The structure is constructed stone piled on stone and no steel is used. In a rare integration of modernity to the ancient architecture, the marble floor is electrically heated to make worshipping in winter a bearable experience for the barefoot devotees.
In the inauguration ceremony, Harper is quoted as saying it as a “testament to Canada’s and India’s proud traditions of pluralism.”
Photo highlights of the temple are as follows.
UPDATE Video : Premier of Ontario, McGuinty celebrates the inauguration of the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a marvel of Indian art and architecture in located in Toronto.
Links to sources : news – photos various sources
UPDATE after 10 years, in 2017.
After 10 years of opening, the temple is one of the go-to places for the followers of Hindu religion. The temple is visited by hundreds of people everyday for worship and sight seeing. The art and architecture is one of the attractions in the biggest city in Canada.