$100 million temple thrown open near Hollywood
The 68th Swaminarayan temple built near the Hollywood city in Los Angeles has been carved out of traditional stone and marble and cutting edge technology to protect it from earthquakes.
"The Mandir is a beautiful testament to the hard work of your congregation who has spent several years to build this place of worship," Chino Hill Mayor Peter Rogers said.
"The Mandir and Cultural Center will indeed be a place that Chino Hills can be proud of for so many, many generations," he added.
Constructed from 35,000 pieces of meticulously hand carved Italian Carrara marble and Indian Pink Sandstone, the temple encompasses five pinnacles, two large domes, four balconies, 122 pillars and 129 archways.
From the external walls and domes to the inside pillars and ceilings, the Mandir is completely etched with intricate carvings in marble and sandstone.
The 6,600 hand-carved motifs depict a mosaic of tales of inspiration, devotion and dedication, along with historical figures from Hinduism, temple officials said.
"Artisans created the carvings in India with great love, skill and patience before the pieces were shipped to Chino Hills," a BAPS statement said.
The Mandir is situated on a 20-acre site, complete with 91 foot lotus-shaped reflection pond, a Cultural Center, gymnasium and classrooms.
It is designed to "calm the mind and open it," said Ronak Patel, a volunteer of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
BAPS said that it is first earthquake-proof Mandir in the world.
"The upper structure of the complex is protected from earthquake damage by separating it from the base with a series of 40 base-isolator units," it said.
"The Mandir also uses a solar power system to generate electricity and reduce adverse effects on the environment. The Mandir combines the best of traditional stone art and architecture and the best of modern technology," said Divyesh Patel, a member of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.