BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson visited Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Gujarat as part of his India tour.
He was greeted on Thursday (21) by Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami, International Convenor of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), on behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the inspirer of Swaminarayan Akshardham and spiritual head of BAPS, a statement said. Sanjay Kara from the Neasden Temple in London was also present.
Johnson was accompanied by Gujarat chief minister Bhupendrabhai Patel and the high commissioner of the UK to India, Alex Ellis.
“This is the mother of all mandirs. It is the source of your wonderful mandirs across the world,” Johnson said.
“Every time I visit a BAPS temple I am uplifted and feel a sense of deep spirituality. All of you, by your selfless work, values and goodness, are contributing in an amazing way towards world development.”
Brahmaviharidas Swami gave Johnson an overview of Swaminarayan Akshardham – a 23-acre spiritual and cultural complex which is a humble tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781–1830), the avatars, devas and great sages of India.
It portrays the traditions and ancient architecture of India and promotes the timeless Hindu spiritual messages of faith, devotion and harmony.
Children dressed in traditional costumes welcomed the prime minister with a traditional dance and waving flags when Johnson proceeded to the main monument of the Akshardham complex.
He paid respects to the murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan by offering flowers, and admired the art and architecture.
He learned how His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual leader of BAPS, inspired thousands of volunteers and artisans to create Akshardham to share the messages of love, peace, tolerance, non-violence, co-existence and global harmony.
According to the statement, Johnson conveyed his best wishes for the ongoing worldwide Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centenary Celebrations and the grand 30-day festival to be held in Ahmedabad from 15 December 2022 to 13 January 2023.
Later, the prime minister went to the abhishek hall where he performed the abhishek (ritual pouring of water) on the murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, the teenage-yogi form of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and offered prayers for world peace, progress and harmony.