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BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple

Home > London > Places of Worship | Free | Family | Architecture
by Shubhit (subscribe)
In-house Copywriter at Camberwell Film Studios. Loves writing about advertising and technology. Has worked with Contagious Magazine, The Upcoming, Creative Orchestra, Triton Communications, All India Radio, etc. Follow me on Twitter @ShubhitSaxena
Published November 14th 2012
Biggest Hindu Temple in London
In all my time in UK, I had never visited a Temple before. However, driven by the urge to celebrate with others the biggest and the most anticipated Hindu festival of the year, Diwali (or Deepavali - meaning: a row of lights), I ended up in BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple of London.

The Temple under lights


The Temple is situated in the London Borough of Brent in north-west London. The easiest way to reach the Temple is to take a bus from one of the nearest tube stations (the website has a link to help you find your way).

I have been to many temples all over India and have admired the unique architecture styles ever since I read about all the different ones from various dynasties and eras, ranging from the Golden Age of Guptas to Chalukyas and Cholas! So, needless to say, I was a bit curious to look at the insides of this popular Temple.

The Temple was inaugurated in 1995 and was then the biggest Hindu Temple outside India. It was also Europe's first traditional Hindu stone Temple, as others have been converted from secular buildings.

The (big) Hindu temples are usually built on astrologically significant spots and a lot of planning goes into deciding the spot. Once the idol is established in a temple, it is not to be moved into a different spot.

A side view of the Temple


The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple is built in a contemporary style and seems to be inspired from the Maha-maru style of temple architecture (in regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat). The temple walls are adorned in carvings and a flight of steps leads up to the Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum), which is more wide and open (than a closed chamber, which devotees could circle around), owing to the contemporary architecture.

The Temple is effectively run by BAPS organization and is supported by volunteers. It is open to people from all walks of life and religion. There are five regular Aartis (prayers) everyday, which signify the waking up of Gods and bathing Them, adorning Them in fresh clothes, offering Them lunch, the sunset worship prayer and finally They are adorned in Their night attire and the doors are closed for Them to rest.



The Temple complex also runs a permanent exhibition entitled 'Understand Hinduism' for those who want to learn more about the traditions and culture. It has a 2 fee to attend.

The Shayona restaurant offers traditional vegetarian food to the visitors and also caters to Events.

The Temple has been awarded with the following Awards -

Pride of Place Award (2007)
Guiness World Record (2000)
Most Enterprising Building Award (1996)
Natural Stone Award (1995)


It has also been featured as Seven Wonders of London by Time Out magazine and as one of the 70 Wonders of the Modern World in the Eventful 20th Century by Reader's Digest magazine in 1998.

Diwali crowds outside the Temple looking at fireworks


When I visited the Temple, there were strict security checks at the entrance and bags or cameras were not allowed inside the Temple. However, there was a free cloakroom facility to deposit the bags/cameras, which you can collect on your way out.

Fireworks over the Temple


I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a taste of Indian culture in London. However, it would not be my ideal spot to meditate, as the crowds can be distracting.
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Why? Biggest Hindu Temple in London
When: Anyday
Phone: 44 (0) 20 8965 2651
Where: Neasden
Cost: Free. 2 for the Exhibition.
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