Huge Swaminarayan temple opens in SA

Updated on Sep 13, 2004 08:25 PM IST

More than 5,000 Hindus from all over the world gathered at Lenasia, near Johannesburg, to celebrate inauguration of first Swaminarayan Temple in South Africa.

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PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Johannesburg

More than 5,000 Hindu devotes from all over the world gathered at Lenasia, the huge Indian township south of Johannesburg, to celebrate the inauguration of the first Swaminarayan Temple in South Africa.

More than 200 followers from the US, the UK, Canada, Kenya and Tanzania joined devotees from all over South Africa as a world peace prayer ceremony (Vishwashanti Mahayagna) was held. The inauguration ceremony was spread over the weekend.

Hindu saints led the prayer ceremony on Friday in which more than 350 people sat around 51 sacrificial fires.

The temple is in the Indian traditional mould with marble carvings, columns, elaborately carved doors, large throne for the deity and idols imported from India.

Nine craftsmen were brought from India to assist with intricate carvings. During the prayers, a chariot procession was taken out with five floats of the deities taken around major temples of the town to end finally at the new temple.

The installation of the four deities was done on Saturday. During the celebration on Sunday, members of the Indian community who have made significant contributions to advancement of South African society were honoured with a shawl and blessings from the head of the Swaminarayan sect in India, Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

There were also spiritual discourses and a cultural programme with traditional Indian dances and dramas presented by the youth wing of the Swaminarayan Hindu Mission in South Africa.

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), which organised the inauguration, is a socio-spiritual organisation that has worked on numerous social projects ranging from aid for flood victims in Mozambique to feeding schemes for homeless children in South Africa.


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