BET U DIDN’T KNOW: THERE IS NO METAL IN THIS TEMPLE
Located off highway 427 just north of Toronto stands this majestic architectural masterpiece. The BAPS Shri Swaminrayan Mandir is a traditional Hindu place of worship that was built by the BAPS Swaminaryan Sanstha. It sits alongside a heritage museum and a Haveli, and is open to the general public.
This breathtaking mandir is the only structure of its kind in Canada. What kind, you ask? This entire building, as well as the other structures that sit on this 18 acres complex, were built using no metal! This mandir follows strict shilpa shastra buiding codes, which have been outlined in Hindu scriptures and have been carried down select families for millennia. This structure and its accompanying haveli were assembled (not built) like a giant 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. 1,800 special artisans, who have learned the art of shilpa shastra from their ancestors, were recruited to hand-carve 24,151 pieces of Italian carrara marble, Turkish limestone, and Indian pink stone.
After the Indian artisans had carved all 24,151 pieces in India, these pieces were flown into Toronto. 400 volunteers worked over 18 months to assemble the marble and limestone pieces like Lego blocks into what we see today. During the assembly, no screws, rivets, or nails were used. Unlike most Canadian structures that have a steel skeleton, this structure has no steel, not even in its foundation. Inside, the lack of support pillars not only makes the halls look majestic, it also reinforces the fact that we are inside a structure that is supporting itself on its own weight – there is nothing holding it up, literally!
I must emphasize the point that this project did not rely on government funding or tax payers dollars. It was completed on the time and money donated by the community.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir website lists the following numbers: