Friday, 25 July 2008


Stewart C. Russell, P. Eng.

The Scarborough Chapter visited this remarkable edifice in late July 2008. Anyone who's driven on the 427 will have seen it glittering by the side of the highway.

The main sanctuary, or Mandir, is designed to last at least 1000 years. In order to do so, traditional construction has been combined with innovation to create the most stable structure possible.

Reinforcing steel has been avoided throughout construction. The foundation of the building is a single pour of fly ash-reinforced concrete, one of the largest continuous pours in Canada and remarkably, completed in a single day.

The Mandir itself is composed of 10000 tonnes of marble, limestone, sandstone and granite. It is held together using stone pegs fitting into recesses in the receiving stone, the pegs being reinforced with copper and held with a limestone slip. The carving inside the Mandir is exquisitely detailed: every arch has carved structures, each of which has yet more and finer carvings, until the eye can barely follow the detail.

The lighting inside the Mandir is entirely LED for long life and low energy use. The wiring is routed inside the walls, and the fittings are hidden in recesses, so there are no obvious light sources.

While the Mandir was the most spectacular, the Haveli next door had very large yet intricate wooden carvings. It also housed a huge prayer hall, built entirely without pillars.

This impressive complex was built entirely using donated money. Much of the professional engineering and management time was also given as a devotional offering.

We were invited to take part in the first section of the evening ritual. It was a very moving and dignified experience, and I would like to thank members of the worship community and members of the PEO chapter who organized the visit.


When 5:45 p.m. -- Assembly of all participants.
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. -- Tour leaves at 6pm sharp.
Where BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Hwy 427 & Finch)
Map 61 Claireville Drive, Toronto, Ontario. M9W 5Z7
Registration Piyush Patel, P.Eng.

Note: As visitors, we are required to follow their temple rules.

Cost Sponsored by Scarborough Chapter
PEO Scarborough Chapter members and guests: Free

The temple requests a donation of $5.
Snacks and refreshment will be served.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple PEO Scarborough Chapter is pleased to organize a technical tour of an engineering marvel, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

The Mandir is a masterpiece of architectural design and workmanship, complete with towering pinnacles, glistening domes and ornate marble pillars, created in an extraordinary tradition that dates back many millennia. Built according to the principles of ancient Indian Shilpshastras (code of stone carving), no structural steel was used in the construction. Over 6,000 tons of intricately hand-carved marble, limestone, sandstone and wood have been assembled to create an environment perfect for prayer, meditation and inspiration.

Structural engineers who attend may learn the unusual construction intricacies of this temple.