Funny how you can live in a place and not know everything that it has to offer. So it is with Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city that is filled with bountiful opportunity for discovery.
On this Sunday outing, an amazing discovery is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the first traditional Hindu Mandir of its kind in North America. Open since 2004, it was constructed in only 16 months which is astonishing considering its intricacy.
The mandir is made of Turkish limestone and Italian marble which was carved in India by skilled artisans. The pieces were then shipped to Houston for assemblage. I could only imagine the task as being like constructing with Legos on a mammoth scale.
To enter the mandir, one must remove shoes to preserve the sanctity of place.
It is hard to fully describe what lay inside. Thankfully there was a young man there who kindly explained some of the imagery. Throughout are images that are both objects of reverence and sources of spiritual inspiration.
There are numerous depictions of dance and music that are elements of the Hindu tradition of loving devotion to God.
Animals, birds and flowers have also been integrated into the mandir’s art which is breathtakingly beautiful.
Trying to take in the magnificence of this place in one visit is impossible, so it is likely I will have to return for another look. Such discovery makes me very appreciative to live in Houston where there is such diversity.