It is quite a distance to India from the UK, something like halfway around the world, but there is more than a hint of India to be found via something like a 40-minute tube journey from central London on the Piccadilly line to Alperton (which is what I did) or by way of the Bakerloo line to Wembley Central. The photo on the home page shows the Taj Mahal, of which more in a moment, but the building I went to see the other day is on the Ealing Road in North London.

The Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir was opened in 2010. The walls and its 200-plus limestone pillars were hand-carved in Gujarat and decorated to feature birds and assorted writings from Hindu scripture. In terms of representing something Indian it does not stand in isolation in this part of town. The area is teeming with clothes shops specialising in Indian attire, sweet shops selling ethnic delicacies such as cashew marzipan, and – of course – a fair few Indian restaurants. As you can see, the morning I went was on the dull side weather-wise so I think I will plan a return trip when it’s a sunny day and for an hour or two one might imagine one is in Kolkata or…well, Agra.

It îs quite an extraordinary sight: a quite magnificent Hindu temple on an unprepossessing road in a suburb of the England capital

My visit to the actual Agra was in 1985, and of course the Taj Mahal was the highlight of that particular excursion. But we also had a wonderful time in Delhi, in the foothills of the Himalayas and spending a night on a houseboat in Kashmir. And we were fortunate that we had scheduled two days in Agra. We needed both of them. On the first I spent about 24 hours being violently ill with food-poisoning (in fact more likely water-poisoning).

One certainly hopes nothing violent occurs during the Indian general election, which got underway on Friday and in which voting is due to continue until June 1. That seems to be an inordinately long time but then there are over 2,600 political parties on the ballot and the country does have nearly 970 million people eligible to vote (that’s more than 10% of the world’s population). Or, put another way, if I thought the Mumbai traffic was chaotic when we were there, I have to think it is even worse now.

It’s approaching 40 years since my own passage to India. I remember much of it so well. I wish I could go there again. But I know I never will – well, not counting a return trip to Wembley.