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A Solemn Sanctuary

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bartlett —Don’t get too distracted by the topiary animals or actual peacocks casually roaming the grounds: The real stunners of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir are the carvings on the Hindu temple’s façade, created by roughly 3,000 artisans in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. All told, the massive, multidomed place of worship — the largest of its kind in Illinois — is composed of more than 8,000 tons of Italian marble, Turkish limestone, and Indian pink sandstone. It welcomes visitors daily to marvel at the architecture and learn about the religion on free guided tours (sign up on the website before you go). So take off your shoes and put away your phone, because the peaceful inner sanctum is only for the devout, the curious, and the quiet.

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