CHINO HILLS: The traditional marble stone studded BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills (Los Angeles), California was inaugurated on December 23 by a host of dignitaries which included Assemblyman Curt Hagman along with Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami, one of the most senior Swamis of BAPS), State Senator Bob Huff, Mayor Peter Rogers, Councilmember Art Bennett and Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the head of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine.
Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) performed the consecration ceremony in accordance with Hindu Vedic rituals to infuse divinity into the sacred images inside the Mandir in the presence of devotees and well-wishers from across North America and various countries around the world. Speaking on the occasion, Mayor Rogers said “The Mandir is a beautiful testament to the hard work of your congregation who has spent several years to build this place of worship. It will indeed be a place that Chino Hills can be proud of for so many, many generations”. Other dignitaries present for the event were Councilwoman Cynthia Moran, Artesia Mayor Sally Flowers, Milipitas Mayor Pete McHugh, and Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella.
The inauguration was a culmination of a host of events held over four days. The festivities for the opening began with His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 92nd Birthday celebration on December 20.
Nagar Yatra, a colorful procession parading the sacred images in eight beautifully crafted floats through the streets of Artesia, CA took place on December 21 as devotees in colorful costumes celebrated with folk dances, devotional hymns, and a youth marching band.
Later that evening a Kirtan Aradhana was performed by BAPS Swamis. On December 22, the Vishwa Shanti Mahayag featured a grand yagna and prayers for world peace. A Women’s Conference was also organized on the same day.
Constructed from 35,000 pieces of meticulously hand carved Italian Carrara Marble and Indian Pink Sandstone, the BAPS Mandir in Chino Hills, encompasses five pinnacles, two large domes, four balconies, 122 pillars and 129 archways. From the external walls and domes to the inside pillars and ceilings, the Mandir is etched with intricate carvings in marble and sandstone.
The 6,600 hand-carved motifs depict a mosaic of tales of inspiration, devotion and dedication, along with historical figures from Hinduism. Artisans created the carvings in India with great love, skill and patience before the pieces were shipped to Chino Hills.
The Mandir is situated on a 20-acre site, complete with 91 foot lotus-shaped reflection pond, a Cultural Center, gymnasium and classrooms. It is designed to “calm the mind and open it,” said Ronak Patel, a volunteer of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
As the first earthquake-proof Mandir in the world, the upper structure of the complex is protected from earthquake damage by separating it from the base with a series of 40 base-isolator units. The Mandir also uses a solar power system to generate electricity and reduce adverse effects on the environment. “The Mandir combines the best of traditional stone art and architecture and the best of modern technology,” said Divyesh Patel, a member of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the inspiration behind the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and Cultural Center in Chino Hills, California.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a worldwide socio-spiritual organization in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, is dedicated to community service, peace and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. Through a number of social and spiritual activities, BAPS endeavors to produce better citizens of tomorrow who have a high esteem for their roots – their rich Hindu culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these activities of character-building. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is morally, ethically and spiritually pure, and free of addictions.
India Post News Service