I am a morning person. my day is pretty much defined by the first one hour at sunrise which is the golden hour. During my workaholic days, I would be seated in a car headed to the airport or checking my email indoors not paying heed to the golden sunrise. Over the years, things have surely changed for the better and now I spend time walking into the sunrise, sun gazing or doing sun salutation with some soothing music for company while the chirping pigeons eagerly wait for me to serve them grains. I was in Ahmedabad recently and visited the Swaminarayan Temple early one morning to join the Heritage Walk around old city. Since we arrived at the crack of dawn, I spent the golden hour sitting on the steps, watching the pigeons, devotees and the sculptures of the temple unfold their beauty under the warm glow of the rising sun.
This is a 19th century temple belonging to the Swaminarayan sect located in the Kalupur area in the old city of Ahmedabad. The ornate and exquisitely embellished gateway is at the end corner of a rather narrow, winding, crowded street. The other attraction on the street is the heritage building with a clock tower. The main idol in the centre of the temple is of Nar Narayan Dev who is dressed opulently in rich embellished fabric.
The architecture of the temple is based on Burma Teak Wood and the predominant use of Green and Yellow in the arches and brackets at the backdrop of the white marble structure makes it very bright and attractive. The other buildings along the sides of courtyard which serves as a car park are also characterized by similar use of colour and motifs which range from gods and goddeses to birds, animals, flowers and geometrical patterns. While I waited for the Heritage Walk to commence, the sun peeped out from all corners setting the top of the buildings ablaze and the melodious bhajans sung by a group of devotees to the beat of the dholak (Indian drum) transported me to another world.