News & Events
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as Neasden Temple – welcomed hundreds of visitors during the weekend of 16-17 September 2023 as part of the Mandir’s continued participation in the ‘Open House Festival’ – an annual architectural initiative celebrating London’s buildings and design.
The Open House initiative began in 1992 to offer free access to London’s best buildings and inspire the public about the benefits of great design. It is organised by Open City, a charity dedicated to making architecture and neighbourhoods more open, accessible, and equitable. Following its inception in London, it has since grown into an international network of more than 50 cities, from Lagos to Taipei and New York to Santiago.
The Mandir is an active participant in the annual Open House event and welcomed visitors throughout the weekend. Volunteers provided guided walk-throughs, explaining the Mandir’s architecture, history, and religious significance as well as its contributions to the wider community.
Guests also toured the ‘Understanding Hinduism’ exhibition, which offered insights into Hindu beliefs, values, and practices. There were also plenty of opportunities for visitors to witness one of the arti ceremonies during the day.
Niraj Rao, a lead volunteer at the Mandir, explained, “His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj created this Mandir to be a part of the local community and it has since become an integral part of Britain’s religious landscape. The Mandir is open to visitors of all faiths and backgrounds throughout the year – free – and the Open House programme provides another opportunity to reinforce this ethos of inclusivity.”
Shivani Patel, who helped guide the visitors over the weekend, added, “It was wonderful to meet so many people genuinely inquisitive and appreciative of the mandir as well as of Hinduism. We’re delighted that individuals and families, many of whom arrived by public transport, continued to visit despite the challenging weather on Sunday.”
Visitors from various walks of life experienced the Mandir’s religious architecture, peace and spirituality, with many sharing impressions of their visit. A selection of their experiences is provided below:
“Amazing temple with the friendliest volunteers I have ever met. Such a welcoming religion. I learned so much from this visit. Thank you for welcoming the community and teaching me so much.” – Arberina, Cyber Security Consultant
“The place is extremely beautiful and spectacular. I recommend everyone to visit. Everyone in the temple was so kind and helpful. They all make you feel part of the community and they are so respectful.” – Jose, Publisher
“Insightful information on Hinduism in the exhibition. Lovely to be able to attend a prayer. Thank you!” – Laetitia, Nutritional Therapist
“It’s really a nice place to be. I love to visit this temple as it gives so much positive energy. The feeling is very relaxing.” – Neeraj, Service Industry
“It’s a beautiful place and I really appreciated the warm welcome from everyone we encountered. Thank you for opening your doors to the public. I learned a lot!” – Sharon, Teacher
To learn more about the Open House Festival, please click here.
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