Inauguration of the BAPS Mandir in Los Angeles Inspires Generations
Chino Hills LA: Calling it a tribute to the community, Assemblyman Curt Hagman along with Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) – one of the most senior Swami 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, inaugurated the majestic traditional stone and marble BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills (Los Angeles), California on December 23, 2012.
After six years of unflinching dedication and thousands of hours of volunteer work, the Mandir stood glistening under the sun as the much anticipated inauguration ceremony started on the morning of December 23rd. Sadguru 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. Those who could not make it to the event saw the live webcast.
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.” He proudly stated “The Mandir and Cultural Center 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 Thursday, December 20. Nagar Yatra, a colorful procession parading the sacred images in 8 beautifully crafted floats through the streets of Artesia, CA took place on Friday, 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 Saturday, 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 Shri Swaminarayan 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 completely 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.
“If one word could sum up the construction of this Mandir, it would be sacrifice. It was, indeed, the dedication, service, effort and sacrifice of hundreds of volunteers from doctors to lawyers to engineers to architects who completed this Mandir”, said Director of Construction Rakesh Patel. “Whether it was raining or sweltering outside, volunteers did everything from heavy duty labor to planning and execution of the smallest thing for making this Mandir”, concluded Patel.
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the inspiration behind the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and Cultural Center in Chino Hills, California. As the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), he has not only helped raise hospitals, schools, cultural exhibitions, and other wonders such as Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi, Gandhinagar, and the Mandirs in Atlanta, Houston, Chicago and Toronto, but has reformed and bettered the lives of millions through his personal touch and universal message. It is because of his guiding vision that, as an international charitable socio-spiritual non-governmental organization, BAPS enjoys an affiliation with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Today, BAPS serves the global community through 160 humanitarian activities in a myriad of areas such as education, environment, health, social welfare, disaster relief and culture. This is only possible through the dedication and devotion of its members and, in particular, the 55,000 volunteers spread over 3,300 centers worldwide.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA will inspire generations to appreciate their traditions, and sacrifice for the community. For more information please visit www.bapschinohills.org and www.baps.org
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA – By The Numbers:
· 5 Shikhar (pinnacle)
· 2 intricately carved domes
· 4 balconies with hundreds of carved motifs
· 35,000 individual stone pieces placed together like a puzzle
· 122 hand-carved pillars
· 129 seamlessly placed archways
· 6,600 hand-carved motifs and images
· 1,500 craftsmen in India
· 91 foot, Lotus-shaped reflection pond and fountain
· 40 base-isolator units to protect against seismic activity
· 597 kW of clean energy generated annually by state-of-the-art solar system
· 20 skylights for Natural and Energy Saving Lighting
· 900 volunteers gave their services
· 1.3 million man hours of construction.
· Built to last 1000 years
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.
About Pramukh Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, has inspired millions of people across the world to lead a God-centered, morally pure life. As the present leader of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj travels from village to village, continent to continent, emphasizing the importance of family harmony, community service and spiritual progress. He embodies the essence of Hindu life. His compassion for humanity, universal wisdom and striking simplicity have touched many world religious and national leaders. For more details visit www.baps.org
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