Wembley Temple – Ealing Road, Wembley HA0 4TA – Phone: +44 208 903 7737
The architecture of the Shri Sanatan Hindu Temple in Wembley has impressed thousands with its dazzling decorative complexity since its completion in 2010. Its intricately-carved bright sand-coloured walls and domes are established as an unmistakable landmark on the Ealing Road. Construction of the Shri Sanatan Mandir, like all Hindu Temples, is based on the scripture of the Shilpa Shastras, which contain design rules, and standards. In this tradition it is laid out on numerical and geometrical principles based on a grid. The Temple is close to square in plan, aligned with its main doors facing to the East.
For the first time visitor the most striking impression is made by numerous intricate forms of carving and moulding which cover the exterior and interior walls, and also the ceilings and the pillars supporting the domes. The patterns have been derived from Hindu legends such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Shrimad Bhagvatam. Carvings also recognise non-Hindus like Mother Theresa and Guru Nanakdevji. Each of the 210 pillars depicts a famous event from Hindu Scriptures. Elsewhere on the stonework, rosettes, feathers and leaves are all-hand-carved. The only unadorned surface is the smooth expanse of Makrana marble floor.
Many of the component pieces were carved in limestone in the small town of Sola in the state of Gujarat, before being shipped to UK and assembled. Yellow Jaisalmer limestone is seen on the exterior and pink Bansi Paharpur inside, all stone coming from Rajasthan, India. The architectural style is described as being in the Northern Indian tradition. No architect’s name is associated with the Temple.
There are 11 inner temples and 29 smaller sanctums housing a total of 41 deities. The total construction area of the Mandir is 20,900 square feet. The Temple is 182 ft by 115 ft and is 66 ft at its highest point in the main Shiker. Shri Sanatan Mandir at Wembley is in a plot which is 2.4 acres. There are 2 domes and the width of each of the domes is 30 feet across. The big dome with Raas Lila formation has 18 Radha murtis and the small dome has murtis of 18 different sants. There are 3 Shikhers (large Shikher is 66 feet tall and the two small Shikhers are 59 feet tall). There are 8 small Samarans over eight inner temples. There are 2 large Samarans over the domes. There are 426 internal arches under the beams. There are 34 Zarukhas and 7 Zarukha gates. There are 8 Sinhasans. There are 117 ceilings with 34 different types of design.
No underlying structural steel frame work was used for the Temple and there is not even a single small subsidiary metallic beam or bolt anywhere. For spiritual reasons iron-based materials are considered inauspicious in Hindu culture. All masonry is designed to be self load-bearing. Only copper, silver or gold is permitted in construction, and there is indeed gold here at the highest point of the Temple, the gold-plated adornment on the spires properly known as Shikharas. The Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir was constructed over 14 years using funds raised by the charity Shri Vallabh Nidhi UK. It opened in the summer of 2010 with the Pran Prathistha ceremony to infuse spirit into the statues.