I decided to visit a Hindu temple because the Hindu religion was the religion that I knew the least about and was interested in. This assignment gave me an opportunity to learn more about this religion and what their worship services and rituals were like. The temple that I went to was called BAPS Shri Swaminaryan Mandir and it was located in Lilburn. As soon as I walked in, I was amazed by the beautiful architectural design of this Temple. It seemed like it took a lot of hard work and dedication to make the place what it is now. While I was at the temple, I watched the Hindus perform an ancient Vedic ritual called the Abhishek, a ritual bathing to honor the murti of their God.
Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, short for BAPS is a spiritual organization and worship place revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830) in the late 18th century and established in 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj (1865-1951). BAPS was founded on the pillars of practical spirituality and they aim to resolve all the spiritual, moral, and social challenges that are happening in the world. BAPS strives to inspire better and happier individuals, families, and societies by basing their activities on the following principles: inspiration energizes its effort against drugs etc, promote harmony and peace, develop a better youth, and sustain the Indian roots.
The Temple was very large and beautiful. My friend and I were both stunned by how gorgeously built the Mandir was. The buildings were big and stretched across several acres of the land. Next to the temple was another large building, which was used as a center for gatherings and entertainment purposes. The temple had many different entrances, the main one we noticed were the big steps that led to the temple. The steps were only opened and allowed to be used once in the beginning of the year, because it’s considered holy. The Mandir (temple) was constructed with Italian marble, Indian pink sandstone, and Turkish limestone. The walls were all carved with delicate carvings of Gods that were carefully shipped all the way from India. The Hindus had very strict rules that had to be followed, such as: no smoking, drinking or eating inside, cell phones had to be turned off, and we had to be silent. We also had to take our shoes off before entering the temple out of respect for the deities and to keep the floors clean.
When I first entered the main worship room, I saw three women walking around the gods in clockwise motion. This clockwise motion is called Pradakshina, a form of worship that represents the fact that god is the center of everything and everyone else surrounds him. There were several gods in the room, each stored in their own window. Many people ranging from old to young kept going up to each god and doing their own prayers. I observed that the prayers were performed in a special way. You had to put your two hands together, close your eyes and pray to that...