Cruising along windy roads in the Santa Monica Mountains, there's a palette of green scrub brush and dusty earth. Then on a stretch of road between Calabasas and Malibu, a gleaming white building seems to emerge from the landscape, flaunting sculptures of fantastical creatures and deities that wouldn't be out of place at the top of Daenerys Targaryen's wedding cake. It's the Malibu Hindu Temple, which is dedicated to Venkateswara, a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. Built in 1981, the building glows as if it was built yesterday. It's a peaceful oasis away just a short drive from L.A. On a recent visit, a man came over as we removed our shoes, and he walked us around the temple, introducing the various gods and deities ensconced in the walls. He led us to the main hall, where a family was performing a ritual, leaving offerings and money at the foot of a statue. We had been there only 15 minutes, and they invited us into their family, chanting in front of the flower-adorned altar. It's this welcoming nature that makes the temple not just a eye-catching monument but the nexus of ever-welcoming community.
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