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BAPS Shayona Indian vegetarian cafeteria and the nearby mandir

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Khaman dhokla with tamarind chutney

While I was researching my recent Indian dhokla story, a friend recommended I try the dhokla from Lilburn’s BAPS Shayona. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get to work this place into my original write-up.)

BAPS Shayona is a vegetarian cafeteria-style restaurant that “promotes a scripturally-based Hindu diet” created by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha religious organization. Its website states that BAPS is a “worldwide socio-spiritual organization — dedicated to community service, peace and harmony.”

To get to the BAPS Shayona cafeteria, you have to pass through a security entrance and swing a left into the restaurant’s parking lot. Inside you can order at the counter and also pick up some packaged vegetarian-friendly goods.

The standard yellow khaman dhokla comes topped with green chiles, mustard seeds and coconut shavings. You can also dip pieces of the dhokla into the tangy tamarind chutney that is served on the side.

What I didn’t know was that a mandir (Hindu place of worship, similar to a temple) is located nearby since the mid-2000s. And pardon the cliché, but it is a sight to behold.

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According to its website, two million man hours of labor were used to assemble over 34,000 hand-carved pieces (shipped from India) into a 30,000 square foot structure. Somebody was clearly busy.

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After our dhokla snack, my friends and I walked over to the mandir and were immediately impressed by the aesthetics of the gardens and the mandir’s exterior architecture. Inside was even more breath-taking. At the top level, a worship room holds statues of Swaminarayan saints (for a lack of a better word), and showcases a meticulously carved ceiling and sculpted columns.

I encourage you to go check it out if you are in the area. And if you work up an appetite, stop by the cafeteria.

by Gene Lee, Food and More blog

8 comments Add your comment

david c

January 4th, 2012
7:50 am

I have long admired the temple. When I worked in Lilburn I would eat my lunch at The Publix parking lot across the street to bask in the serenity. I had no idea there was a cafeteria open to the public.

JIMBOB

January 4th, 2012
8:20 am

This looks interesting. Were there many other people there? Were there a lot of choices? How were the prices? Did they have a lot of seating accomodation??

The restaurant’s website says little about what culinary pleasures await.

Gene Lee

January 4th, 2012
9:02 am

It wasn’t too crowded on my visit. Again, it’s cafeteria format so you order at the counter and you will be called when your food is ready. There are a lot of choices, and you can order a la carte. It was very cheap, but I wasn’t paying too close attention to the other options.

Plenty of seating.

John Kessler

January 4th, 2012
11:36 am

When BAPS Shayona was on Lawrenceville Highway, I’d always think of this when I drove by…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118663/

George

January 4th, 2012
12:26 pm

I assume there is a Dairy Queen on site for dessert?

Gene Lee

January 4th, 2012
1:17 pm

Kessler – I have been singing “BAAAPSS Shayona!” ever since I went to this place, and the whole time I wrote this..
“My my my i yi woo. B B B B BAAAPPPSS Shayona…”

Sydney

January 4th, 2012
3:12 pm

Visited the mandir this fall for the first time and agree, it was gorgeous inside and out. Did a quick look in the restaurant, but didn’t eat due to plans elsewhere. I’d like to go back and try it.

Kev

January 7th, 2012
9:50 pm

“Kessler – I have been singing “BAAAPSS Shayona!” ever since I went to this place, and the whole time I wrote this..
“My my my i yi woo. B B B B BAAAPPPSS Shayona…””

LOL! Are you a former member of The Knack?