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Harper inaugurates Hindu temple

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper inaugurates a Hindu temple, praising the $40 million architectural marvel.

world Updated: Jul 24, 2007 05:57 IST

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper inaugurated a Hindu temple here and praised the $40 million architectural marvel, saying that it represented the spiritual and ethnic pluralism of India and Canada.

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha's (BAPS) Swaminarayan Mandir opened on Sunday after 18 months of construction.

"Canada's accommodation of diversity is not without precedent," Harper said, addressing a large crowd. "There have been forerunners and of these perhaps none is as noteworthy as India."

The temple built with Turkish limestone and Italian marble is the first Hindu temple in Canada to come up according to ancient Indian Vedic principles, BAPS said.

Most of the temple was carved using hammer and chisel by close to 2,000 craftsmen, 100 of who came from India.

Harper said the fruit of the community's labour would give people a glimpse into how Indo-Canadians have influenced cultural mosaic here, CTV.ca reported.

"The facility will inspire visitors to appreciate how the spiritually diverse, multi-ethnic heritage of Indo-Canadians has contributed to the fields of arts, science, education and pluralism," Harper said.

Virtually every inch of the place is embellished with carved deities as well as horses, peacocks, elephants, lotus flowers and vines, each representing different Hindu virtues.

People in a parade on Saturday afternoon carried several idols that were to be installed in the temple as a symbolic gesture to introduce the deities to the city, their new land.