After years of controversy, including residents fearing that a Hindu temple would turn the Southern California town of Chino Hills into a “Third World city” and a haven for terrorists,* the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was dedicated on December 23, 2012. Situated on a 20-acre “campus,” the mandir (Hindu temple) and cultural center is home to educational and religious facilities. Though there is a visitor’s center with an intricate wooded entrance, for the casual visitor the mandir is the main draw. Built of Indian pink stone and Italian marble, the entire structure does not contain a single piece of metal and was built to remain in existence for 1000 years.
The most striking feature of the temple is its interior, filled with detailed carvings, paintings, columns, and domes. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside, though some good photos, including many interior shots, can be found here. One must take off their shoes to enter, so be sure to wear socks in the heat of summer as there is no shade to cool the stone stairs leading to the interior. The site is also still under construction, so some areas are currently off limits. There are also some guidelines to be followed, including a dress code that asks for all clothing to cover shoulders and knees (wraps are provided, if needed.)
Photos taken November 2013 (Nikon D7000).
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