After six years of unflinching dedication and thousands of hours of volunteer work, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in Chino Hills, California stood glistening under the sun as the much anticipated inauguration ceremony started on the morning of December 23, 2012. Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) performed the consecration ceremony in accordance with Hindu vedic rituals to infuse divinity into the sacred murtis 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.
Dignitaries present during the inauguration included Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the head of Kauai's Hindu Monastery and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine; State Senator Bob Huff, Assemblyman Curt Hagman, Mayor Peter Rogers, Councilmember Art Bennett.
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 people 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.
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.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA will inspire generations to appreciate their traditions, and sacrifice for the community.
About BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA:
- 5 Shikhar (pinnacle)
- 2 intricately carved Marble 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