January 14, 2008
Over 75 ladies of two women's group, 'We Are All Neighbors' led by Mrs. Andrea White, wife of Houston Mayor Bill White and 'The Consul Ladies of Houston' led by Mrs. Rina Gavai, wife of Consulate General of India, Honorable Shashishekhar Gavai visited the traditional BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
Mrs. White's group focuses on bringing Houstonians together through sharing cultural understanding and Mrs. Gavai's group strives to expose the group members to Indian culture.
Senior BAPS members of the women's wing welcomed the honored guests in the traditional Indian manner by applying a chandlo and tying a nada-chhadi on the wrist thus symbolizing friendship.
The groups then proceeded for the mandir tour and were instantly awe-struck upon seeing the intricate carvings and architecture. The atmosphere was charged with divinity when the arti was performed by the guests and devotees. Thereafter, the guests enjoyed a presentation on BAPS humanitarian services and how BAPS strives to maintain Hindu traditions and preserve Indian culture.
At the end of the visit, Mrs. Gavai gave a vote of thanks to BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and volunteers for showcasing Indian Culture and Hinduism. Mrs. White was overwhelmed by the hospitality received from the volunteers and felt as if she was welcomed home. Mrs. White remarked, "I would be returning for the evening arti with my husband, if anybody would like to join me, you are welcome."
The women's group departed from the mandir, charged with the spirit of love and devotion.