solo travel

My First Solo Adventure: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

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Ever since I met my husband, over 5 years ago, I have been dependent on him when it comes to any adventures. I never went on any adventure without him. Why not, right? he drives me around, he takes my photos, I feel safe when I’m with him and it was easier. Well that and also I was never introduced to fun adventures until I met my husband. I never even knew what hiking was if it weren’t for him. Anyway, I never had that kind of freedom where I get to do my own thing when I want, wherever I want. Well, that was all fine with me until my thirst for adventure has reached a whole new other level. All of the sudden I want more adventure and I can’t just wait around for my husband’s next day off anymore just to have fun. So I took the first hardest step: Get out of my comfort zone. 

I did a lot of research. I read some people’s blog, I searched Pinterest to give me that push that I can go on solo adventure. (Yes it was that big of a deal for me). However, nothing really gave me the push that I needed when I developed this new hobby called: Instagram Lurking. In absolutely NO creepy manner, I promise. I learned that on Instagram you could actually see photos of these places you never knew existed near you. (Uhmm…Am I a little late on this knowledge?) I don’t know about you but one of my weaknesses are epic photos. Doesn’t matter if its too filtered but if it looks good in photos, it’s enough for me to see it in person.

Anyways, I saw Malibu Hindu Temple first on Instagram and I thought to myself, “Wow this place is really cool… I never thought this place existed here in California“. I planned to see that place at first but since I was a beginner-solo-adventurer and Malibu Temple was further, I didn’t feel comfortable going all the way out of my comfort zone yet. I wanted something just small and nothing complicated just so I can get a little taste of what it’s like to stroll alone.

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I somehow ended up on Instagram photos of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. A Hindu Temple that’s located in Chino Hills, 30-45 minutes away from my house. As soon as I saw the photos of this Temple I knew this is the one. This is the perfect place. I have to see it for myself. It’s close and getting there was not complicated. I’m familiar with the freeways that I have to take to get there anyways so this place was it.

Off I went and a little over 30 minutes later, I was at the gate of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. When I got there, I felt this excitement that I couldn’t explain. I felt so proud. All these feelings were rushing in. I was having butterflies in my stomach. Thoughts were buzzing in my head. How will it go? Will it be ok? You know the rest…

Anyways, I was greeted by a worker at the gate and I was instructed where to park and to not take photos inside of the temple.

As soon as I got out of my car, I could already spot the temple. It was already gorgeous from far away.

Mandir Temple is absolutely breath-taking up close. The intricate hand-carving from exterior to interior of the temple was just exquisite. It was unique. It was something I have never seen before.

The exterior of the temple was made from pink sandstone from India. While for the interior, every slab of marbles was hand selected and closely analyzed from Carrera, Italy. Every inch and every corner on this temple was hand-carved by the skilled artisans and craftsmen from India. Once they complete the process, they then number all the marbles and deliver them to Long Beach port first to Chino Hills where they built it piece by piece.

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Though Mandir was free for everyone, as for Hindu’s culture, the shoes were not allowed inside the temple. Proper clothing was also observed which means no shorts and no sleeveless was allowed. I totally forgot about these practices or I think I just really didn’t know because I’ve never been to any temples before. I was wearing a sleeveless romper because it was about a hundred degrees that day. I also almost forgot to take off my shoes too until one of the worker instructed me to leave my shoes outside. When I got inside I was given a shawl that they provide for free to cover my arms.

There were Hindus inside the temple that was practicing their religion and paying their respect. It was inspiring to be inside there, to see how others practice their own culture and their own religion was very inspiring. I felt the peace, calmness and the spiritual awareness was just there. I couldn’t help but be curious of their culture and their beliefs.

I lingered for a little bit to take more photos. But I decided to go home around lunch time as the heat was becoming more unbearable that day.

 

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I drove back home and I couldn’t believe that I just did what I did. I took the first hardest step and in return I was given a great experience and memories. I proved to myself that solo adventure is actually great. Solo adventures are fun. I don’t know why it used to scare me before. It turned out that I was just really comfortable because I have my husband around. I thought adventures only exists when you’re out in the wild. But the thing is you don’t have to go far just to have an adventure. Some exquisite place like Mandir Temple are just right around the corner.

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Hope this inspired you to lurk on Instagram (LOL) to find beautiful places like this near you! While you’re at it follow me on Instagram too to see more daily adventure photos @babythexplorer. Please like my Facebook page as well for daily updates @Baby The Explorer. Talk Soon!

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