The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta is the sixth BAPS traditional Hindu stone temple built outside of India. It is also the largest Hindu temple of its kind outside of India. It is currently open to the public. The 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) temple, officially called the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, sits on 30 acres (120,000 m2). With hand-carved stone spires that tower 75 feet (23 m), it is the tallest building in Lilburn, Georgia, dominating the intersection of Rockbridge Road and Lawrenceville Highway. More than 1,300 craftsmen and 900 volunteers dedicated their time in putting this 34,450-piece stone marvel together. More than 4,500 tons of Italian Carrara marble, 4,300 tons of Turkish limestone, and 3,500 tons of Indian pink sandstone was quarried and shipped to the craftsmen in India. Then, all of the nearly 35,000 pieces were shipped to the United States. It serves members of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism, which originated in India more than 200 years ago. The traditional design features custom-carved stonework, a wraparound veranda and five prominent pinnacles reminiscent of the Himalayan hills.
The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.