(Please visit my SmugMug site for better quality photos.)
All I can say is “Wow!”
Well, actually, I have more to say than that, but wow was my first impression when I started taking photos at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (aka Hindu Temple). This particular temple was finished in 2007. I’ve driven past it several times and always wanted to stop and look more closely at it, but the timing was never right. Today, I had nothing keeping me from stopping AND I had my camera with me.
I stopped and the very nice man at the gate told me that I could walk the grounds, but not go inside. There were only four cars in the parking lot, and I saw only three other people besides one staff person, so I was lucky that there weren’t people in hardly any of my shots. There were also signs (some of which you see) saying that you could not take photos above a certain level.
The wind was gusting pretty badly, so I was fortunate also that it was such a sunny day. That allowed the shutter speed to be so high as to almost negate how much my camera was moving from the wind gusts. I’ll definitely go back with a tripod some day.
Some of the shots I took are very touristy, (like the one here) but that’s okay. The place is awe-inspiring, and I wanted to try to convey that with a wide-angle shot. In some other photos, I wanted to show the amazing details. I’ve put all of the photos I wanted to show on my SmugMug site. (If you like my photos, I strongly encourage you to visit this site, because the images are not compressed and muddied like they become on this blog. And if you visit this site, don’t forget that you can view the photos much larger and see more detail. Let your mouse hover over the larger photo on the right, and a menu will pop out that lets you choose a larger size to view. Some are very large photos and might take a few seconds to load.)
Here’s a bit of information from Wikipedia I found interesting.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta is the sixth BAPS traditional Hindu stone temple built outside of India. It is also the largest Hindu temple of its kind outside of India. It is currently open to the public. The 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) temple, officially called the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, sits on 30 acres (120,000 m2).
With hand-carved stone spires that tower 75 feet (23 m), it is the tallest building in Lilburn, Georgia, dominating the intersection of Rockbridge Road and Lawrenceville Highway. More than 1,300 craftsmen and 900 volunteers dedicated their time in putting this 34,450-piece stone marvel together. More than 4,500 tons of Italian Carrara marble, 4,300 tons of Turkish limestone, and 3,500 tons of Indian pink sandstone was quarried and shipped to the craftsmen in India. Then, all of the nearly 35,000 pieces were shipped to the United States.
It serves members of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism, which originated in India more than 200 years ago. The traditional design features custom-carved stonework, a wraparound veranda and five prominent pinnacles reminiscent of the Himalayan hills.