The most amazing place in all of London is where we visited yesterday: the Hindu temple. Unlike anything that you would expect it is a wonder to behold.

We took a coach to get there and out of the busy commute traffic we began to see it – the bright white domes of the temple, flags on each point. A wall separated us from see all of it, but there was no mistaking that we were about to move into a world of awe. As we turned the corner the wall was still separating us from a full view; but that didn’t matter, there was still excitement. It was drizzling, so the world around us was gray yet the moment we crossed the street and walked through the gate we were impressed even more. What we hadn’t seen before was even more magnificent.

Carved wood, limestone, and marble surrounded by beautiful gardens. We had literally stepped out of London and into a place of peace and beauty. I wish that I had pictures, but we had been instructed that is was necessary to leave our bags on the coach – no photography allowed in the temple, and only a designated location outside was available for photography. It is okay, this will never leave my memory.

The smell of incense as subtle and soft, this was a place sacred in so many ways I can’t describe it, but the students all felt the same. There was a hush that fell on all of us and it stayed the entire time we were there. Our guides led us upstairs, and as they did we all marvelled at the carved stone and wood. We were being allowed to view the statues of the deities in the prayer area. We could touch nothing, not the stone or wood of the walls, the deities were protected behind fine gates, so taking in their presence was all that we were allowed.

Time seemed to slip by unnoticed and yet it was time to move forward, a video and then a discussion regarding the temple where we could ask any questions we wished. It was an interesting education – this temple took only three years to build. An amazing feat since the stone and wood had to be shipped to India to be carved and then shipped back for the actual building of the site. People of the community volunteered their time and finances to build this sacred place, no outside funds were used. The reason for the wall, to allow you to only see the top and forget the outside world, then once you see the gardens, you forget the domes, once you see the inside you forget the gardens, and once you see the deities your total focus is on them. But I had a question to ask, something that bothered me from the moment we arrived.

The only disturbance to the peace that I felt was at the moment we passed through the gates into the courtyard and when we physically entered the building. At each point there were guards with bullet proof vests. I didn’t notice any guns, so I don’t know if they were armed. And as we entered the temple we had to pass through the same metal detectors as you would in a government building. I asked why? If this sacred place is open to all and a place to welcome everyone why the security? Scotland Yard has required the security; the temple has no choice in the matter. How sad is that. But the temple is safe and anyone is welcome to this sacred place. I only hope that someday we will live in a world where such security is not necessary.

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