January 27, 2017
My Polish Diary (I): Welcome to Lodz-alternative touristic destination!
Poland is not the first country that will cross your mind when you think about...
Construction of Marble Arch that was originally designed as an entrance gate of the Queen’s residence, was finalised in 1833. But, as years passed by, Queen Victoria’s growing family required more living space, so it became unnecessary to extend the palace. Only two decades after its construction, the Arch was dismantled and relocated nearby Hyde Park to make extension possible. Inside the Arch, there are three small rooms which used to be “home” to one of the smallest police stations in the world up until 1968. Another interesting fact is that only elders of the Royal family and the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery have permission to pass under the middle arch of the monument. This occurs only during ceremonial processions.
Above the rooftops of brick houses of North London neighbourhood rise white turrets of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. This architectural and cultural gem cannot be found in London’s tourist map but it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth visiting. Actually, it is the perfect place to visit if you are trying to run away from a crowd of tourists. Once you find yourself in front of this Hindu temple, you will be stunned by the carving skills of Indian artisans.
Visitors of all faiths and beliefs are welcome to come inside and explore the interior of the building. The focal part of the Mandir is inner sanctum on the first floor, which intricate walls and dome are even more stunning. Regardless your beliefs, it is hard to stand inside the sanctum without being overwhelmed by its spirituality and tranquillity. Those who would like to find out more about the Hindu faith and culture of India shouldn’t miss out the exhibition “Understanding Hinduism” on the ground floor.
If you want to read about other fascinating facts about the Mandir, check out the article featured on Travelicious website.