Matt and Misty at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, originally uploaded by MCuthbert.
This afternoon Misty and I visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, Georgia. We'd come across it by accident one day driving along Highway 29, where it sticks out like a sore thumb. It's the sort of thing you'd expect to see in an exotic foreign country, but not in the middle of the commercial zoning of metro Atlanta.
The Mandir is a Hindu temple of sorts. It's surrounded and filled with statues of various gods. From what I understand, the whole place was shipped in piece by piece from India and assempled without using any screws or nails. It's like a gigantic Lego project. And it's exquisite.
Being inside made me nervous because there are a lot of rules, and I didn't want to offend someone in their place of worship. Cameras aren't permitted beyond a certain point, you have to remove your shoes, and you're asked not to speak above a whisper. There's even a guard at the front gate making sure incoming cars aren't bringing any unauthorized materials inside.
It's unbelievable how intricate the designs are inside the Mandir. It's not just the detail, but the scope -- it's huge, and nearly everything is hand-carved. We were in awe of it all.
Here are some more of our pictures (from the outside).