We arrived by coach at the temple car park and had some refreshments in the restaurant before going over to the Haveli which is the cultural centre where we removed our shoes. We sat in a big hall which was just a quarter of the space as the partitions can slide back to accommodate 4000 people. The manager, Yogesh Patel, explained the origins and construction of the temple and the Haveli using Marble from Italy, Limestone from Bulgaria, Burmese Teak and English Oak from Cornwall . These were shipped to India and hand sculptured and carved. Each of the 26000 pieces was packaged and labelled and shipped to London. A huge plot of land has been purchased and they had 3 years to complete the buildings. Many Hindus (devotees) gave time and money to do this and the result is stunning. The Haveli has teak and oak columns and carvings while the temple is built with the marble. It was completed in 1995 and was , at the time, the largest Hindu temple outside of India
After the talk and a video we visited the Hindu Exhibition which was a fascinating insight into the Hindu religion which is one of the oldest in the world. We then went into the adjoining Mandir to the Inner Sanctum which is the place of worship. We witnessed the call to prayer and marvelled at the beauty of the carved pillars and the dome. We could then look at the 7 shrines which house the murtis (sacred images) of the deities. We then returned to the restaurant for an Indian buffet which was delicious and resulted in a lot of overeating!
We then were taken by coach to the Musical Museum at Kew and given a guided tour of the many pianos, pianolas and orchestrions with a demonstration of some of them. Then came a surprise. We were taken to the 2nd floor where we could sit and have refreshments and listen to a Wurlitzer played by an entertaining expert. A young lady also sang to us and we passed a very enjoyable hour before heading back home.
Another excellent outing thanks to Jean & Geoff and the travel team.
A big thank you to the team and especially Jean and Geoff who led the fascinating outing on 9 February. As ever it was very well organised with plenty of time to enjoy, learn and refresh at both venues. The question and answer session, and talk, by Mr Patel at the Mandir were very informative and the demonstrations at the Kew museum very entertaining.