This week the kiddos and I decided to go on a field trip to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and it was completely amazeballs.
I was looking for things in the area to do with the kids that wasn’t crazy expensive -and- was somewhat educational. When I came across information of the mandir, I couldn’t pass it up.
I don’t subscribe to any specific religion and I’m not converting to Hinduism anytime soon. What I know about Hinduism comes from mythology and the only Hindu that I know, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
The campus is huge, gated, meticulous and incredibly beautiful. We stayed outside looking around at every little detail before going inside to attend the midday Rajbhog Arti ceremony. We were in the way back as to not get in the way of people praying. The detail in the hand cut marble, inside and outside, is really awesome. The kids were losing their minds at how big it was and how it was like a castle.
Now, while I know very little about Hinduism, I do know to be respectful and follow the posted rules. One of the rules that stood out was the restriction on photography/filming inside and outside of the mandir. I even emailed to inquire if we could bring sketchbooks (we could) because I didn’t want to be an asshole.
One of the best parts of our tour was a woman visiting the shrine. She was blatantly shooting video on her phone which really aggravated me. When the staff/volunteers began to approach her, she quickly put her phone away and made the “it’s okay” gesture at the men. They made her delete the photos and videos.
We had a great time, though to no one’s surprise the kids were not fans of Indian food. Too spicy or too bean-y or just too out of their comfort zone. I actually wasn’t much of a fan either, but maybe it was simply because it was prepared in a snack bar/cafe instead of a restaurant…which really doesn’t make sense because the snack bar/cafe food is usually super good in these out of the way places. No matter, a good time was had by all.