Visitor Opinions – Schools (2016)

20172015 – 2014 – 2013 – 2012 – 2011 – 2010 – 2009 – 2008 – 2007 – 2006 – 2005

Thank you for making our visit to the Mandir a memorable one for our children. They had a fantastic time and came away with their little heads filled with the knowledge and understanding of a Hindu place of worship and practices in Hindu worship.

You made us feel very welcome and the talk was short and interesting for our Year 2 children.

We look forward to visiting again next year with our next batch of children.

Adeline Selvaraj
All Saints Church of England Primary School
Childs Hill, London
15 December 2016

We had a wonderful time this morning during our visit to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Our students really gained a lot by being able to experience Hinduism first-hand and in practice. 

I also felt the gentleman who spoke with us gave us a very clear and insightful presentation and talk on Hinduism and the Mandir.

We are looking forward already to our next visit again!

Alex Waring
Eaton House The Manor Prep School
London
13 December 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the temple, and the children certainly benefitted from learning much about Hinduism and the traditions.
Your hospitality and kindness when our coach broke down was amazing, and just demonstrated to us first hand, the empathy and family ethos of looking after each other that you hold in high regard. Thank you again so much for a wonderful afternoon.

Angela D’Arcy-Hulusi
Form V Teacher & Head of Foreign Languages
Barnardiston Hall Preparatory School
Haverhill, Suffolk
28 November 2016

Thank you so much for allowing us to visit the Mandir Temple. Our children really enjoyed their time there and we learned lots in addition to the learning we had been doing in school. As last year, it was very informative and enjoyable for all.

Maeve Ryan
Year 5 Teacher & PSHE Coordinator
Hallfield Primary School
Bayswater, London
23 November 2016

We enjoyed our visit very much, thank you. One boy even said it was the best school trip he has been on! We found your staff and volunteers welcoming and helpful. We did not get time for the worksheet but we can download that and do it in school. Sitting on the floor is a little uncomfortable for older teachers like me but we survived! Then we enjoyed a good lunch at the Shayona restaurant. All in all, a very good day.

Richard Hudson
St Andrew’s School
Buckhold, Berkshire
22 November 2016

We very much enjoyed our visit to the Mandir today. Our guide was very kind, helpful and informative. The Mandir was awe-inspiring and the statues of the deities were beautiful. Many children and adults in our group mentioned how very peaceful the atmosphere at the Mandir is. We particularly enjoyed being present during the Arti ceremony. 

The children all enjoyed visiting the Mandir and would like to send their thanks to you and your team.

Jenny Morgan
The Cavendish School
Camden, London
22 November 2016

Sinclair House had a fantastic time visiting the Mandir yesterday. The staff were very friendly and approachable and our whole experience was very well organised. The children loved learning new facts and they especially enjoyed being able to ask lots of interesting questions. Our understanding of Hinduism was enhanced by our visit and the children talked passionately about what they saw and heard. Thanks again for being so accommodating. We will definitely be back again!

Amy Rowntree
Sinclair House School
Fulham, London
22 November 2016

Our year group absolutely loved their visit to your temple yesterday. The architecture and carvings are breathtaking – the children were walking around open-mouthed with amazement!

It was truly wonderful for the children to be able to experience such a beautiful place of worship first hand – they were asking lots of thoughtful questions during their visit and back at school.

Please pass on our thanks to the gentlemen who showed us round and led the question and answer session – they were so patient and accommodating.

The members of staff are looking forward to visiting with their own families and I am confident we will also be back as a school next year.

Sarah-Jane Grindley
Great Hollands Primary School
Bracknell, Berkshire
11 November 2016

The BYU students and faculty very much enjoyed our visit to the Mandir yesterday. Not only did the students marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and beauty of the Mandir, they also appreciated learning about Hinduism in the exhibition and having the opportunity to ask a member of the Mandir staff questions. Thank you for your generous hospitality in welcoming us in your morning worship. It was a memorable visit.

Miranda Wilcox
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah USA
10 November 2016

Many thanks for letting us visit your wonderful building. The children had a lovely time and came away having really enjoyed the trip. The children found the act of worship very interesting and the building beautiful. Thank you for having the shop open, the children loved seeing all the things that were there and buying some of them.

Tim Nixon
Year 3 Teacher
St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School
Chinnor, Oxfordshire
10 November 2016

My students and I enjoyed our visit very much. The temple is outstanding, the exhibition is interesting and the talk given to us helped us to gain further insights into the topic of Hinduism and Hindu life. We were also happy to receive the booklets and other generous gifts from you. Besides, we appreciated witnessing the various preparations for Diwali and we all enjoyed taking part in the midday ceremony. Thanks for making us share this experience.

Heike Schuermann
Clemens-Brentano-Gymnasium
Dülmen, Germany
31 October 2016

I’m emailing to thank you for arranging another very successful visit to the Mandir for the Middlesex University Primary Student Teachers. I thought you might like to read some of their feedback:

  • The visit was very welcoming, well organised and informative.
  • It was a great experience . I really enjoyed the ceremony.
  • It is a peaceful, beautiful and precious place.
  • Our tour guide was welcoming, entertaining and informative.
  • We had a good overview of the Hindu tradition and the visit would make a good educational experience for young children.
  • I enjoyed watching the video before the talk, as it gave a clear introduction to the mandir itself.

I hope these give you a flavour of the positive feedback I had after the visit. All the students find the experience special and it is referenced during our exploration of spiritual development among young children as a way of engaging children emotionally as well as intellectually through visits to a place of worship.

I look forward to seeing you again this year with two other groups, if you can fit us in.

Linda Whitworth
Senior Lecturer in Primary Teacher Education,
 Citizenship & Religious Education
Middlesex University
The Burroughs, London
27 October 2016

Thank you for welcoming us at the Mandir last week. We found that it was an extremely enjoyable day and useful in providing some insight into the Hindu faith and the Swaminarayan tradition. It was great to experience the temple’s beautiful surroundings and we felt privileged to witness seeing those who worship there.

We would have loved more time to discuss our questions about Hinduism but overall the timetable for the day worked very well for us.

We hope to work with you again next year.

Hannah Good
Upper School Phase Leader
Waverley Abbey Church of England School
Farnham, Surrey
11 October 2016

The students thought the visit to the mandir was interesting and educational. The information given showed a side of the Hindu faith that the students do not read about in course books; that not all Hindus are very strict, as there are in any religion. There is nothing close to our hometown even close to a resembling a Hindu temple, so everyone was fascinated by the building itself.

Inger Campbell
Teacher of Swedish and English
Uddevalla Upper Secondary School
Uddevalla, Sweden
13 September 2016

THANK YOU SO MUCH. We were made to feel so welcome and there was a lovely peaceful and calm atmosphere to the temple. It is also a truly beautiful place. The students were really taken with it all and also enjoyed the Arti ceremony and the exhibition. The books you gave us have gone into the RE library. Please also thank our guides who answered many questions by the students! Thank you for a wonderful and uplifting experience. You will be getting many more visitors as we have been telling everyone about it and our warm welcome!

Karen Nichols
Malton School
Malton, North Yorkshire
25 July 2016

Thank you for your time last week. We had an amazing visit. For some it was the highlight of their week-long visit to London! The children were inspired by all of the carving and they loved the film and the funny tour guide. We felt very privileged to be able to witness/share your prayer ceremony. It felt very personal and intimate, to mingle amongst your fellow Hindus as they prayed and this made a big impression on all of us. It made us feel very humble to be allowed to be a part of something so special. I do hope we can visit again in the future. You are doing an amazing job!

Ruth Alphey
Headteacher
Dunsford Community Primary School
Dunsford, Exeter
22 June 2016

We all had a wonderful time at the Mandir on Friday. Thank you so much for your hospitality, for being so accommodating (as we were late – there was an accident on route!), and to all the friendly staff who looked after us. Also thank you for the gifts you gave us. The lunch room was comfortable and clean and it gave us all a chance to sit, chat and eat.

Saira Valalmbhia
Class Teacher
Escher Church of England Primary School
Esher, Surrey
12 June 2016

Many thanks for making the trip possible and for the very lovely team at the Mandir. We had an amazing time.
I have done a blog on our visit: https://phoenixandkids.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/finding-hinduism/ and will reblog it on the main home education site.
My kids and I really enjoyed and we will definitely be back. Thank you again for an amazing experience.

Phoenix Debola
Home-Schooling Mother
10 June 2016

We had another wonderful day and again we were very warmly welcomed and very well looked after. We had a wonderful day and the girls loved it. It was a wonderful experience for the girls, who learned a lot and were able to apply what they had already learned to a real experience.

Lisa Mackin
Holy Cross Catholic Girls’ School
New Malden, Surrey
10 June 2016

Thank you for letting us visit your Mandir yesterday. Staff and students enjoyed the experience very much. Students said they found it very enlightening and peaceful. Our guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He is a very pleasant young man and we all were really impressed by such a fantastic place of worship. Thank you so much for letting us enjoy your sacred temple.

Emma Kennedy
Head of Department, Beliefs & Values
Buckler’s Mead Academy
Yeovil, Somerset
9 June 2016

I would like to thank your outreach and group-visit coordinators for making our visit to the Mandir so worthwhile and rewarding. We had a wonderful time, and a good conversation with our guide. Other institutions in London could learn a lot from the welcome provided by the volunteers at the Mandir and how open, educational, and accessible you have made it to visitors. Our group found it a very enlightening experience providing for a greater cultural knowledge and understanding of the Hindu tradition.

Dr Gerard Curtis
Professor of Visual Culture and Art History
Memorial University
Old Harlow, Essex
3 June 2016

On behalf of the staff and children at Orley Farm School, we wanted to say a huge thank you for facilitating our visit today. We thought the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was such a beautiful, calm and peaceful place. The children have learnt so much, and were amazed by the architecture. A special thanks to the guides and staff at the temple for their help and guidance. We look forward to visiting again next time.

Elin Lewis
Orley Farm School
Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex
16 May 2016

We had a fantastic trip, thank you. Our guides were excellent and spoke at the right level for the children. It was great for the children to have the opportunity to ask questions and witness the arti ceremony. Many of the children have said that they would like to revisit the mandir with their families. Thank you again and we hope to see you next year.

Sophie Ireland
Class Teacher & RE Subject Leader
St. Olave’s Preparatory School
New Eltham, London
16 May 2016

Many thanks for a very informative and enjoyable visit all round! The children loved it!

Alison Skilbeck
Vinehall School
Robertsbridge, East Sussex
25 April 2016

It was really a pleasure to visit the temple on Friday. The children enjoyed it. Our guide was really nice and ever so patient and ready to take questions.

Angela Ihezie
Pentland Field (Special Educational Needs) School
Ickenham, Uxbridge
25 April 2016

Thank you for a very enjoyable and informative visit to the Mandir on Wednesday. The students have fed back how much they enjoyed it, in particular the opportunity to ask questions informally. As ever they were awed by the Mandir itself and left understanding the value of such visits for themselves and their pupils. Previous groups have also seen the film about the building of the Mandir and I would recommend this is shown to all groups as it is hugely informative and gives insight into the efforts the BAPS community made to build it.

Linda Whitworth
Senior Lecturer in Primary Education
Middlesex University
London
22 April 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit last Wednesday and were made to feel so very welcome by everyone. We are sorry we were so late, due to traffic, but were grateful for your flexibility in reordering the activities so the children could see the shrines in the Mandir. The visit was a perfect end to the children’s learning of the Hindu faith. We will look forward to seeing you next year.

Victoria Cole
St Stephen’s Church of England Primary School
Godstone, Surrey
20 April 2016

On behalf of the children and staff from Basildon Primary School, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for their hospitality during our visit on the 11th March. The children found the visit extremely educational and enjoyable and we as a school are very much looking forward to a return visit, hopefully next year, with our new Year 6 children.

Tracey Sharp
Basildon Church of England Primary School
Reading
23 March 2016

A truly wonderful visit, and as always we were made to feel very welcomed. The children learned so much and continued to be inspired to find out more on our return to school.

Sarah Hassan
Year 3 Teacher
St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School
Lewisham, London
14 March 2016

Thank you all so much for your fantastic welcome today and wonderful hospitality. It is a wonderful trip for the pupils and a great educational experience for all. It is a stunningly beautiful building and a lovely place of worship. The pupils were so engaged which was great to see and they all thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

I look forward to our next visit at this time of year in 2017. Thank you also very much for the very kind gifts and the booklets which will be valuable resources here in the RS department.

Paul Morgan-Jones
Senior Master
Holmewood House School
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
11 February 2016

On behalf of the pupils and staff at Bishop’s Stortford College, I would like to say a huge thank you for making us feel so welcome when we visited your facilities in January.

The Mandir is a truly spectacular building, and I always enjoy watching the faces of our students when they first walk into the main hall. There is a real sense of awe & wonder in the building, and you provide the children (and adults) with a unique opportunity to experience Hindu Worship in a real-life context. Thank you to our guides for their care and attention, and we hope your staff in the gift shop were not too overwhelmed by the long line of enthusiastic pupils.

To the Staff at Shayona Restaurant, I would like to say a huge thank you for your service – you made every child feel welcome and we are always grateful for your attention to detail. The food is fabulous, and the children also appreciated your willingness to serve endless dishes of naan bread and rice. Each year, some of our children (and their parents) are a little hesitant about our visit to your authentic Indian restaurant, but every year we leave with a group of very happy children and very satisfied teachers!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the coming year, and I look forward already to bringing a new group of Year 5 pupils to the Mandir and restaurant in January 2017!

Jane Towns
RE Teacher
Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
5 February 2016

I have had the following feedback from my client [Garforth Academy, Leeds]: “Pupils loved the temple, one of the pupils’ favourite locations. It was stunning. The presentation was very good and the presenter was engaging and knowledgeable. We will want to return.”

Thank you for making their visit such a success.

Adrienne Tyone
Senior Tour Administrator
Galina International Study Tours
Chester
3 February 2016

We enjoyed the visit very much and our students were very impressed and asked a lot of questions. As Belgians, they didn’t know anything about Hinduism and hadn’t ever had the opportunity of seeing this type of building. The guide was very nice and answered all the questions, showing them how Hindus welcome all cultures and religions. Thank you very much for sharing your open-mindedness.

Viviane Willens
Athénée des Pagodes
Brussels, Belgium
3 February 2016

We are still talking about our wonderful visit in school and the children and staff loved it all. Thank you so much. 

Maire O’Regan
Year 3 & 4 Class Teacher
Ingatestone and Fryerning Church of England Junior School
Ingatestone, Essex
27 January 2016

I would just like to thank you very much for providing us with such a warm welcome. All the children and staff very much enjoyed the day. It was very informative and all ran very smoothly. The children enjoyed sharing details of what they had learned once back at school and have since done some excellent follow up writing.

Jo McAndrew
Year 4 Class Teacher
Isleworth Town School
Hounslow, London
26 January 2016

We all enjoyed our visit and learned a lot about the Hindu faith. It was good to spend some quiet time just being in the Mandir, where time seems to stop for a while. Thank you also for the books and calendar our guide so kindly gave us.

Lyn Spall
Headteacher
Creeting St Mary Church of England School
Ipswich
26 January 2016

Thank you for our tour round the beautiful elegant white Mandir (it really does stand out). It was very interesting to learn about all your gods and to witness your 3rd prayer ceremony. It was good to see how you do things and it was very peaceful. I CAN NOT WAIT TO GO THERE AGAIN!!!!!! (It was 10/10 and beyond.)

Students
Creeting St Mary Church of England School
Ipswich
25 January 2016

Thank you so much for having us! We come from a non-religious school but we have been studying Hinduism for quite a while. The students are 12 yrs old, and they are so interested.

Earlier today my students did a survey about our visit to your temple yesterday. Some of my students’ voices:

“I learnt a lot.”

“I found it so interesting.”

“I thought it was amazing and I learned so much.”

“It was so great to see everything we have been studying in school in real life.”

“I found that everyone was so kind and answered all our questions.”

“It really was a good mix of activities with the film, exhibition, the temple and that we were allowed to take part in the ceremony.”

Thank you once again. We really appreciated that you would have us.

Camilla Errestad
Swedish School
Barnes, London
19 January 2016

Thank you for a fabulous visit. The children were hugely impressed by the architecture and by the beauty of the murtis. They loved the peacefulness and the serenity and were honoured to be welcomed into the kite festival. We were all certainly inspired by the visit, evidenced by some of the comments from the girls:

“I loved the trip to the temple. I enjoyed looking at the carvings on the pillars and watching the film about how they built the temple and how intelligent they were to build it.” Lucy 4G

“I really enjoyed the temple…it was my best experience at school.” Aria 4D

“I thought the carvings were amazing and beautiful…it was lovely and peaceful and a very nice trip. I learnt a lot of things.” Esme 4D

“I really enjoyed this trip. I found it amazing that the designs were hand-made. I loved looking at all the gods the Hindus believe in.” Audrey 4D

However, I think this can all be summed up rather well with Ellie’s comments: “Awesome, amazing, fantastic, wonderful, THE BEST.”

We look forward to returning next year.

Angela George
Key Stage Two and RE Teacher
Girls’ Prep, Surbiton High School
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
16 January 2016

Thank you so much for inviting us to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir yesterday. Our students were stunned by the magnitude and beauty of the site and the evident care and love that had brought it to be. The Mandir is a landmark on the map of and history of Britain and it was exciting to share a day in such a staggeringly beautiful place. Of course the beauty was not limited to the architecture. Everybody we met offered, as it were, a mental embrace such that we felt entirely at home within minutes of our arrival. It is not often in life that one is made to feel entirely accepted and greeted into ‘the nest’ with such welcome. The considerable warmth meant that some of our students wanted to stay much longer.

As an introduction to Hinduism we could have done no better because our students actually felt something of the Hindu spirit by being actively in your midst for a short time. It’s something they will never forget. We took some photographs outside to mark the occasion, which I will forward for your interest.

I think you are doing a fantastic job. From a teacher’s perspective taking a large group up to London for the day was potentially strewn with difficulties. Your thought and provision made my job much simpler. The worksheets have been largely completed to a good standard, and the students will be credited for that, but the constructive application of their minds to the exhibition was facilitated by your creation of the work sheets in the first place. They are really well done and helped the students to focus on the place of Hinduism internationally. The lunch room was also a great facility which provided a peaceful space for the group to gather themselves. The Shayona restaurant and shop are a delightful mine of delicious produce. We bought small red boxes of savoury food for each of the students filled with delicious spicy bites – still warm from the oven and irresistible even for the more conservative eaters.

Towards the end of our time you were very kind and spoke in person to the students. You covered a huge amount of information in a light-hearted serious way that engaged and fascinated them. From diet to prayer habits to daily training – you covered a great deal. In the middle of it you were cheerful and amusing.

I think it’s fair to say that you touched us all. The staff who came along were equally enchanted by the visit and have both offered to come with us again.

From a personal perspective I would have liked a guided meditation in the marble temple to help feel the presence more deeply, but that is something that would be impossible with a large group, so it’s not a suggestion. We will start our formal study of Hinduism in September at which time there are likely to be many more questions for you. This is all new to us and we know nothing but then my sense is that Hinduism is more about doing than knowing…

Many thanks and we very much hope to visit again soon.

Julie Arliss
Philosophy of Religion and Ethics Teacher
King’s College
Taunton, Somerset
12 January 2016

Thank you for all your help during our visit today. The children really enjoyed the visit to the Mandir and many of their questions were answered. Everyone we spoke to was extremely polite, accommodating and helpful so we wanted to thank all of you for all your hard work.

Aman Kaur
Humanities Leader & Year 6 Class Teacher
George Tomlinson Primary School
Leytonstone, London
11 January 2016