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HARLESDEN Bakerloo Line 

The Swaminarayan temple . . .Opposite  a power station, with Wembley stadium arch in the background the Swaminarayan temple rises like a delicate mirage from its dreary surroundings The story of the financing and building of this temple is almost as extraordinary as the building itself. Thousands of tons of Bulgarian limestone and Carrara marble were shipped to India where it was carved by more than 1,500 craftsmen. The carved pieces were then put together and by the time the building opened in 1995 upwards of a thousand volunteers from all walks of life had worked on it. Financed entirely by contributions from the followers of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, it operates as a community centre as well as a place of worship.
Although the official directions recommend starting from Stonebridge Tube station, that involves negotiating the North Circular Road, so I have chosen a route  from Harlesden, which, frankly, is not very interesting,  but has the merit of being straightforward.  However, if you want to cheat and take a bus, there are two - the 206 and 224. These go from Winchelsea Road (turn left from the station, then left again and cross over Mordaunt Road to get to the bus stop). If you decide to walk, it's about a mile to the Temple. Once you are in Winchelsea Road  just keep going straight. When you reach Hillside, cross into Brentfield Road and soon you will see the impressive white temple ahead.

Visiting is a heart-warming experience. Obviously there is heavy security (for details see the temple website) but once inside the atmosphere is very welcoming and I was particularly impressed that as a lone female I did not feel in the least out of place. Children too are welcome, and you will probably run into school parties touring the interesting exhibition explaining some of the complexities of the Hindu religion. Not to be missed.

Harlesden is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!

© DR