Religious Studies: Year 8 Visit Neasden Temple
On Thursday 3rd December, Year 8 were privileged to visit one of the most original and iconic buildings in the country; Neasden Temple, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary.
As we turned in to the Temple complex, the children were treated to a glorious sight; a traditionally built Hindu temple, rarely seen outside India, let alone nestling beside the North Circular and IKEA in North London.
As we entered the Temple complex, the children (and adults) could not fail to be impressed by the sheer size, intricacy and beauty of the building. We entered through the Haveli, with its interlocking geometric patterns of rosewood carving framing the rooms. A masterpiece of its style, when it was built in 1993, it was the first building to be created in this style for 100 years, even in India.
After an initial welcome, and a video describing how the Temple came to be built, the children then went up to the daily 'arti' service - the highlight of the day.
A service of thanksgiving to God, this is a truly multi-sensory experience with music, chanting, candles, and incense complementing the worship of colourful deities.
With all this happening in the beautifully carved Temple space, it was difficult not to be affected by the atmosphere. This was variously described by children as 'spiritual', 'uplifting' and 'peaceful'.
The children then stayed in the Temple area to make notes and drawings, as well as to write down their thoughts about the experience.
After lunch in their well-equipped lunch room, we attended a superb and thought-provoking question and answer session with one of the Temple staff.
The children asked excellent questions. Indeed all the children were a credit to the school; interested, thoughtful and polite. A long journey back, but for a long time afterwards many of us will remember the ringing of bells, music and chanting, the beautiful marble carvings, as well as the atmosphere of peace and spirituality that pervaded the visit.