Giant Symbol of Hindu Faith

June 20, 2007


Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Philip Warner watches the white limestone wonder rising across the street from his vantage point at the UPS Store on Rockbridge Road in Lilburn.

The store manager keeps a pair of binoculars handy to observe construction of one of the largest Hindu temples in the United States.

The temple is off-limits while under construction but looks awesome even at a distance. It eventually will be open to the public.

"I think it's amazing. We have a landmark that's not the Big Chicken," Warner said, referring to the Marietta landmark. "We have Cobb County beat."

Customers constantly comment on the towering sanctuary that will open in late August — the closest metro Atlanta may ever come to having its own Taj Mahal.

With hand-carved stone spires that tower 75 feet, it will be the tallest building in Lilburn, dominating the intersection of Rockbridge Road and Lawrenceville Highway.

"It's 50-50 between those who like it and those who roll their eyes," Warner said. "Some people think it's way too much for Lilburn, too ostentatious," he said.

The sanctuary belongs to members of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) sect of Hinduism. The Lilburn location will be the largest temple in the United States for the BAPS sect. Built at an estimated cost of $19 million, the temple complex is only the third of its kind in the country, surpassing BAPS temples in Houston and Chicago.