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BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto

(4.3/5 based on 75 reviews on the web)
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan mandir in Toronto, Canada is a traditional Hindu place of worship that was built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, which is headed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, is a global spiritual organization within the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism. The mandir was built in 18 months and consists of 24,000 pieces of hand-carved Italian carrara marble, Turkish limestone and Indian pink stone. The mandir is the largest of its kind in Canada and was constructed according to guidelines outlined in ancient Hindu scriptures. The grounds spread over 18 acres and in addition to the mandir, include a haveli and the Heritage Museum. The mandir is open daily to visitors and for worship.Mandir and daily ritualsThe temple is a type of ‘Shikarbaddha’ mandir, built according to principles laid out in the Shilpa Shastras, Hindu texts prescribing standards of sacred architecture. Within the mandir, murtis (sacred images of the deities) have been installed in different shrines. The central shrine holds the murti of Swaminarayan, with Gunatitanand Swami to his left, together worshipped as Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj. Similarly, different shrines hold murtis of other Hindu deities such as Radha Krishna, Shiva Parvati, Sita Ram, Hanuman, Ganapati and the lineage of BAPS gurus who are Swaminarayan’s spiritual successors.Once the divine has been invoked in a murti, it becomes an embodiment of the Divine. Accordingly, Swaminarayan sadhus (Hindu monks) offer devotional worship to the deities throughout the day. Before dawn, they awaken the deities by singing morning hymns (prabhatiya). The deities are then bathed and offered food and garments depending on the time of the day and season. Food that has been offered to the deities is considered sanctified. These holy offerings are distributed to the devotees as prasadam. Throughout the day, aarti, a ritual where devotees sing the glory of Swaminarayan while a lighted wick is circulated before the murtis, is performed five times a day and named mangala aarti, shanagar aarti, rajabhoga aarti, sandhya aarti and shayana aarti, respectively. During midday, lunch is offered. In the evening, dinner is offered. Finally, the sadhus put the murtis to rest by adorning them with night garments.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited this mandir (temple) on a foggy day in mid February with a large group of people from our club. I regretted the day was foggy for it was hard to take in the exterior characteristics of the ...  more »
  • The place is beautiful, no doubt! But it's overhyped. Moreover this temple represents Hinduism but I felt that they like to represent the "Gujrati" culture. Even the prayers were being done in Gujrati...  more »
  • It's a beautiful piece of Indian architecture. It's far from Toronto though as it is located in the further away suburb. Their staff is rude and the institute has some weird rules. They gave my friend...  more »
Google
  • This was such an amazing place. From the moment you enter the temple you start to see all the wood work, all those details, quite impressive. But when you go into the actual temple, get prepared to stay in awe, I never ever seen anything like that, the work on the pillars, the ceiling, the sculptures, just wow! You feel a lot of respect for that religion and at the same time, getting to know a little bit more about it. It's a shame really that no pictures or videos can be taken, but at the same time isn't a touristic place per se, it a temple to worship and we have to respect them. Amazing place.
  • Visited and left with mixed emotions. The design, architecture, wood and stone work are stunning. On the other hand, if you are not of Indian decent the staff are all very sour and unfriendly. The "museum" is really just a collection of propaganda and made up historic events. Pay the $5 entrance fee if you want to learn how India was the first to develop writing (it wasn't) and how ancient Indian scholars discovered particle physics (they didn't).
  • Nice Temple. Good architecture. Makes you feel like you are in ancient temple of India but well preserved one. Carving on marble and wood is stunning.
  • I wonder how come this place not a famous landmark of Toronto like CN Tower or Niagra Falls? Best thing it wasn't crowded like those places. Marble work, wooden crafts, culture, arts u name it. Everything so special, different and exotic about this Hindu temple. I definitely got lots of peace and positive energy when visited this place.
  • This temple is an amazing piece of marvelous art work put together. The temple is made without the use of any cements or anything else. Everything is put together like a puzzle and its just a peaceful and calm place to visit.