BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Stafford

4.7
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir of Houston, Texas is a traditional Hindu temple built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, which is headed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, is a denomination of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism. The mandir, located in the Houston suburb of Stafford was built in 28 months and consists of 33,000 pieces of hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone. The mandir is the largest of its kind in Texas and was constructed according to guidelines outlined in ancient Hindu scriptures. The grounds spread over 22 acres and in addition to the mandir, include a haveli and the Understanding Hinduism exhibition. The haveli is a cultural center in which weekly congregations are held. The Understanding Hinduism exhibition provide visitors with a foundation of the key tenets of Hinduism. The mandir is open daily for worship and to visitors.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. The murtis are made from marble and are considered to be imbued with the living presence of diving beings. Accordingly, Swaminarayan sadhus (Hindu monks) offer devotional worship to the deities throughout the day. Before dawn, they awaken the deities by singing morning hymns, called 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, arti, a ritual where devotees sing the glory of God 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. While food is being offered to the murtis and when they are put to rest, their chamber doors are closed.
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BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
48 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Did not realize there is such a beautiful Hindu temple just in my neighborhood till my teenage son was required to do a project on religion in one of his classes. At first glance, you would thought th...  more »
  • The temple is very beautiful with intricate designs on the marble. Make it in time for the aarti. After that go straight ahead to the gift shop where u can buy various sweet and savouries.  more »
  • A beautiful temple made of marble for people who worship specific Hindu guru. Takes about an hour to visit; shoes must be removed for visiting the main temple. Very peaceful beautifully manicured grou...  more »
Google
  • This is the most beautiful place in Houston!! Please go and visit it!!! besides it's free!!!! It's a bit confusing but try to read the instructions before you start walking around the temple. You can take picture OUTSIDE THE premises NOT inside the actual temple! You have to take off your shoes before going inside the temple they have two small closets one for women and another for men where you can put your shoes. You can not enter the temple if you have shorts but, there is a gentleman in front of the temple and will give you some sort of cloth you can tie around your waist so it covers your legs. The temple inside is breath taking!!!!! I was walking around with my mouth wide open because it was so beautiful. There is people in the temple who will guide you around and tell you what everything means or represents.
  • Love this sacred place of adoration. The details are beautifully done. There is also a small museum with a lot of information. There is also wheelchair access throughout the whole location!!! Fun part is that you need to remove your shoes before entering the building. Would love to be back sometime again.
  • Beautiful carvings, sculptures, ceremonies, singing, singing, and people. Everyone was kind and accommodating even though we were in their space, their place of worship, and they allowed us to take part and appreciate the culture and beauty. The gift shop had sculptures, beads, images, ceremonial drums, and many great snack offerings for vegetarians. A place to visit to learn, broaden your mind, and appreciate beauty.
  • This place it's a must! The people there were so nice and helpful. One of the people working there, answered all our questions and gave us information about the temple. You can have any religion and still go there, visit or even pray. The feeling of purity and the calmness that the temple gives you, it is hard not to notice. I am a fan of Hindu culture, but after visiting the temple, I felt more in love. You can tell that I am going back, right? :)
  • Very friendly and cleaned. Lots of lawn parking and the temple is gorgeous! Reading the previous reviews helped me prepped before going in.

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