Hindu Temple An Architectural Wonder in Toronto
Since we’ve written of faith lately, we’d like to show you an ethereal-looking Hindu temple which has arisen over the last 18 months at the intersection of Finch Ave. and Highway 427 in Etobicoke, just northwest of Toronto, Ontario. Built at a cost of $40 million without a penny of government money, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (temple) is a tribute to the devotion of Indo-Canadians to Hinduism.
No steel was used in building this architectural and engineering marvel. It’s all stone on stone; traditional Vedic principles specifying how a holy building should be built were followed, including the use of only stone because it’s considered the most sacred of all building materials. The mandir was built following the same guidelines used in constructing ancient Indian temples.
The entire project, a phantasmagoria of Italian marble and Turkish limestone, is a first for Canada and was created entirely by the Hindu communities of India and Canada. About 2,000 Indian craftsmen were hired, with about 100 of them flown to Toronto while another 1,800 remained in India to sculpt the finely detailed carvings with chisels and hammers. What they created is astonishing, and could be considered one of modernity’s “Wonders of the World.” The five-pinnacled exterior is decorated with horses, vines, flowers, elephants and peacocks, which represent different Hindu virtues. Inside, every inch of marble has been chiselled to reveal Hindu deities such as Shiva and Vishnu.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on hand for the temple’s opening on 22 July, said the temple is a symbol of how Canada and India embrace ethnic and spiritual pluralism. “The facility will inspire visitors to appreciate how the spiritually diverse, multi-ethnic heritage of Indo-Canadians has contributed to the fields of arts, science, education and pluralism,” he said. The temple will also host the Canadian Museum of Cultural Heritage of Indo-Canadians. About 192,000 Hindus live in the Toronto area.
Others in attendance included Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Mayor David Miller, Rajamani Lakshmi Narayan (the high commissioner of India to Canada) and Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of the faith. McGuinty, who described the temple as being “inspired by genius and faith,” said: “What we build and how we build it has a profound impact on who we are and how we are together…Our destiny has always been to find strength in our diversity. This is a place where people gather to build something beautiful — a community.” Temple activity coordinator Aarti Patel said: “It gives me a sense of pride, a reputation for first-generation Indian Canadians that we are integral members of this country.”
Read another post about faith, and the strange effects it can have.
Photo credit: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto
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